Following the 2022 midterm elections, the City of Bend has two new councilors: Ariel Mendez and Mike Riley.
Mendez is a current Oregon State University-Cascades professor and member of the Bend Park and Recreation District Board of Directors. Riley is the executive director of the Central Oregon Environmental Center.
“One of the lessons that I learned on the park board is two of the most important principles that we can think about in the broadest sense are taking care of what we have and planning for the future,” said Mendez. “Bend is super special. We have to take care of what we have.”
“A lot of the stuff that is important to me, like how we grow and complete neighborhoods and a good transportation system, is all part of the solution for climate change,” said Riley. “For example, that’s kind of the core issue we’re working on these days.”
Both received more than 60% of the vote in their respective races.
Transportation is Mendez’s focus.
“We will provide a safer community, a community where people don’t have to worry about taking their lives in their hands when they’re riding a bike or crossing the street. It will be lower costs. People won’t spend as much time at the pump. Maybe some families will be able to get around with one car,” said Mendez.
How the City of Bend handles growth, housing affordability, transportation and homeless issues will ultimately impact the environment, according to Riley.
He has already been working with the city on environmental issues.
“We do have a climate action plan here in Bend that the city adopted, and I was a part of helping make that happen,” said Riley. “And I expect to be helping to move that forward as we go forward. So the home energy score the council is wrestling with this month and next month. I support that and would like to see it pass.”
Current Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell, Mo Mitchel and Stephen Sehgal will step down from as councilors in January. Barb Campbell, Ariel Mendez and Mike Riley will fill in those positions council.
Councilor Melanie Kebler just won election as the next mayor. Once she takes that role, the other council members will appoint someone to fill that vacant council seat.