With a budget of over $65 million and more than 400 employees, Deschutes County’s health services department has an important role in our local healthcare system. The county is our local public health authority, providing reproductive health, communicable disease prevention, and environmental health services.
We are experiencing a housing crisis, and the cause is straightforward: A mismatch of supply and demand. Since the collapse of the housing bubble and the ensuing 2008 financial crisis, the demand for housing has rebounded, but supply has not. According to state economists, we have underbuilt housing by 110,000 units across the state of Oregon, and we’ll need an additional 584,000 units by 2030.
Across Deschutes County, wells are running dry amidst the worst drought in 1200 years and residents are rightfully worried over our region’s ability to grow. The good news is that, despite reduced snow pack and lower reservoir levels, there remains plenty of water to sustain healthy rivers, cities, and farms, but only if we ensure our water is not wasted.
The 1996 Skeleton Fire destroyed 19 houses in the Sundance neighborhood southeast of Bend, including Oliver’s childhood home. That devastating loss drives his commitment to wildfire prevention today. He serves on the Deschutes County Project Wildfire steering committee, as well as the Deschutes Rural Fire District #2 (DRFD2) board of directors.