Megan Perkins: Bend City Council - Position #3
Candidate: Megan Perkins
Office: Bend City Council Position #3
Opponents: Ron "Rondo" Boozell (Green Party) & Chris Piper (R)
Central Oregon Labor Chapter
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
The Vocal Seniority
Q & A with Indivisible Bend
If you align with a particular political party, or abstain from choosing a political party, why do you make that choice?
I have always been a Democrat and am proud to be a Democrat. I was born and raised with avid Democrat parents but as I grew up and expanded my world view, I realized I wanted to be a member of a party that was an umbrella; all sexual orientations, colors, income levels, platform issues and more.
I believe the Democratic party is the party of empathy and acknowledges that not everyone has the same chances in life. Is the party perfect? Not in the slightest. But I’ve always believed you work within the system to change it and that’s what I plan to continue to do.
If elected to Bend City Council, what are your top three priorities?
My top three priorities are my campaign values: inclusion, access and economic equity.
Inclusion means ensuring that when we ask ourselves what kind of city we want to live in we affirm that it needs to be a city where everyone feels welcome to participate and are equal partners in decision-making regardless of race, income, or which neighborhood they live in. I will use this lens with every single action I take on City Council.
Access means that I want to prioritize making the City Council and the City itself more accessible to its residents. I want to remove barriers to civic participation for not only City Council meetings but also hiring, communications and the committee structure.
My third priority is to work every single day to ensure that we build sustainable, multimodal and equitable transportation, childcare and housing for our residents. We have to be creative and we have to be diligent about ensuring that our growth is not just benefitting one type of resident but benefitting us all.
How can Bend City Council affect equitable outcomes for marginalized communities? You can choose a particular issue like hiring practices, or legislation, or policy changes, etc.
I think the most important thing that the Council can do is understand that DEI is not a single-issue. It’s not a training. It’s in everything. Every issue. Every policy. Every communication. We should always be asking ourselves “who is not in the room? Who is disproportionately affected by this? Who are we excluding? Whose voice needs to be heard?” And then understand that we need to truly share power not just listen. The Human Rights and Equity Commission is a very good first step that is an excellent example of shared power and I look forward to shepherding this through as a Councilor.
Hindsight is 20/20, what’s important is that we learn from our experiences. What lessons have you learned from Bend City Council’s COVID-19 response?
I’ve learned a couple of things. First is that leadership is important. We needed more guidance and more multimodal ways of communicating with the public during the pandemic. Not everyone has email and is on the Mayor’s email list. Second, that encouraging people to do the right thing doesn’t always work especially when people are hurting economically, bored and a little stir crazy. We should have absolutely been in enforcement mode as soon as school “ended” and people started traveling. And it is the City Councilor’s role to use that megaphone to explain why it is necessary to enforce.
What do you think Bend City Council should do in response to the recent event with ICE and Customs & Border Patrol creating terror amongst our immigrant community?
I think the City Council should have put out a statement as a body that ICE is not welcome and expressing support for our residents who were kidnapped from their families. I think every City Councilor should have been with the people of Bend that day on the ground. And I think that the City Council should call for an independent investigation of the Bend PD to ensure that there was no collusion.
How will you represent our BIPOC community in Bend?
I am running for City Council to fight for a City that TRULY welcomes and shares power with all of its residents. For too long now all decisions have been made for and by a very specific type of person: white, cisgender, well off, and straight. As someone who falls into that category entirely, I see it as my responsibility and obligation to open the eyes of others like me and invite them to listen, learn and act.
I am running to also make the City more accessible to its residents. There are so many barriers to civic participation and our City and City Council needs to do a better job going into the communities they represent rather than expecting people to come to them. We should not have to seek out the City, they should be seeking us out. I will fight for creative and substantive solutions to this communication problem.
We need to make sure we promote economic equity in this City. Working people and families should be able to afford a home. Kids and adults should have safe multimodal ways of getting to school, recreation and jobs. And working parents should be able to find a childcare facility for their young children. Right now, we are in danger of becoming a Rich-Poor city and we need to act fast.
I will work every day to hold myself accountable as a white person to ensure that ALL of our communities are invited to the table and included in decision-making.
As of today, which individuals or groups are your three biggest donors?
Family and friends! No businesses. No PACs.
What brought you to Central Oregon? What do you like best about this place we call home?
Like so many others, I started my experience in Bend as a tourist visiting family in Sunriver and vacationing in Bend and Black Butte. For over 30 years I’ve watched Bend grow with awe. I always knew that one day I’d end up here and luckily my husband and family agreed! We made it a reality in 2018. My favorite things about Bend are the abundant options for kids both outside and inside and the Deschutes River (we moved here from dry dry dry Santa Fe).