One major issue faces North Bend above all others and that’s economic vitality.
With the addition of a handful of new members on the Economic Development Commission (EDC), combined with existing members, there actually may be hope that North Bend can deal with some of its lingering issues.
At the root of economic vitality is the issue of the lack of water rights. The EDC needs to put this at the top of its list and hammer on the North Bend City Council so it realizes this is the biggest issue facing our town. The process that started in 1992 must continue to be pressed until there is resolution. Economic vitality or economic development are just oxymorons without water.
The EDC needs to develop the economic portions of North Bend’s comprehensive plan, which in turn should drive economic development. A city cannot survive long without some growth and North Bend is stagnant at best in this regard.
Of course, there will be those that think economic vitality means paving everything over, filling in the rivers and putting in strip malls. Nobody is talking about those things as part of economic vitality, most are talking about the long-term survival of North Bend as a city and the ability to work and live in the same community.
The need for economic vitality also is above any one person on the EDC, or council for that matter; the lack of which will eventually force the hand of elected officials and staff to make drastic decisions with the worst-case scenario of no more city.
But I am optimistic that the EDC has the people to focus on the issues at hand and trust they can put any differences aside for the betterment of North Bend.