City Club of Central Oregon's inaugural City Managers Regional Forum on May 4 (One Region, Many Cultures - The Diverse Cities in Central Oregon) aimed to appeal to a broader segment of the Central Oregon community.
The luncheon at Eagle Crest drew a crowd of more than 225 people who came to hear about what makes the diverse cities in Central Oregon unique and in what ways they are similar.
The city managers conversed about a range of issues, from legalized marijuana to housing markets to media coverage. Although residents of local communities live within manageable commutes of each other, each city faces its own individual challenges and opportunities.
One similarity: Most communities in the region share a love for outdoor and recreational amenities. But the individual cities provide a variety of options of places to live. Central Oregon is home to small rural quiet towns and bustling, urbanizing tourism meccas and options in between.
Sisters City Manager Rick Allen, of Madras, moderated the panel in a humorous and nontraditional style, and each panelist offered insight and overviews into what makes their city special. The panel include five city managers from Central Oregon: Gus Burril, Madras; Steve Forrester, Prineville; Keith Witcosky, Redmond; Eric King, Bend; and Cory Misley, La Pine.
Finally, in recognizing the challenges the city managers face and the efforts to solve them, City Club of Central Oregon presented the first ever "Amazing Alpaca" award that will be presented annually to the city manager in Central Oregon whose community faces the biggest and boldest challenge in which the solution involves the entire community and city departments working together under the leadership of the city manager.
The 2017 award was presented to Gus Burril, as Madras is currently facing a big challenge with the thousands of visitors coming in August to watch the eclipse.
The City Club thanked the city managers and the sponsors of the forum: Central Electric Cooperative, St. Charles Health System, and Steele Associates Architects.