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Michael Hughes for Mayor

Get to Know Your Candidate in Running

Michael’s campaign for the Mayor of Bend is based on three important principles. First, be kind. Bend as a community should address the homeless issue and provide an example for other cities to follow. Bend needs to maintain its small town feel as it becomes a bigger city. Two, be safe. Bend must improve upon both wildfire disaster plans and prevention, including providing all the resources necessary to first responders. The city should take whatever steps are necessary to prevent future wildfires from causing injury to people or property. Bend needs to provide additional funding to train more police officers in drug recognition evaluations for impaired driving enforcement. Finally, be smart. Bend must continue to intelligently develop to proceed into the future when more than 100,000 people will live in the city. The city must continue to collaborate with the county and come up with common sense solutions for future development, including providing more incentives for builders to construct affordable housing projects.


  • Work with Governor on the issue of homelessness
  • Develop Work-Program with private and public funding that allows homeless people to do volunteer work around the city in exchange for room and/or board
  • Anti-Aggressive Driving Campaign


  • Develop a comprehensive Wildfire Emergency Plan for the City
  • Explore ways to reduce man-made fires in the area
  • Fund more training for Bend Police Officer to become certified in Drug Recognition Evaluations
  • Seek private and public funding and cooperation with the Bend PD and OSU Cascades to conduct comprehensive research on cannabis related impaired driving


  • Prepare Infrastructure for when Bend exceeds 100,000 residents
  • Look for creative and innovative solutions to continued residential and commercial development in Bend
  • Create more incentives to attract high-tech, high-paying jobs to the city
  • Protect and preserve the natural resources of the city, including the river
  • Continue to Embrace and Promote Tourism in Bend and Central Oregon

Debates - Hear What Michael Hughes Says

Click the links below to listen to past recorded mayoral debates.

Part 1: Paying for Septic Systems vs. Sewers & Candidate Backgrounds

Part 2: Marijuana Retailers & Affordable Housing

Part 3: Infrastructure and Impacts of OSU-Cascades & Mirror Pond Dredging

League of Women Voters of Deschutes County Debate

Live feed of the Bend Mayoral Debate by the Bend Neighborhood Coalition

Candidate interview with Michael Hughes and Cascade Business News

Candidate Interview with Michael Hughes

Why did you decide to run for Mayor? What are the skills and strengths that make you uniquely qualified to lead the Bend City Council as Mayor the next four years?
I am running for Mayor because I love Bend and I want to give back to the community as I feel public service is important. I am a quick thinking, skillful communicator and commonly work to bring opposing sides together. As an attorney I have helped business clients navigate the difficult landscape of local land use issues which requires working with city and county officials. I understand what businesses and entrepreneurs must go through to become successful. I also solve complex problems by examining issues from every perspective before setting a plan of action. Most of the issues facing the city of Bend have legal components. The mayor needs to be able to analyze these issues not only from a legal perspective, but also with the diverse opinions of the citizens in mind and common sense. I have worked in farm fields, as a welder in a motorcycle factory, on a road construction crew, as a security guard, in a lumber yard and stocking shelves in a grocery store. My diverse work background and legal expertise allows me to understand and articulate issues from a multitude of perspectives and these skills and strengths make me uniquely qualified to lead the City of Bend as Mayor into the future.

Bend is at a cross-road, what we do now will directly affect those that live in Bend 25, 50, 75 and 100 years from now. I still want those residents of the future to say, “Wow, the past leaders in Bend really got it right and did something amazing.” We cannot afford to sit on our laurels because we all feel Bend is great now. I feel if we Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Smart and Be Bend we will continue to build an even better Bend. Allow the community to dream big. Drake Park is beautiful and iconic; however, make it even better perhaps creating a river walk like Austin or St. Louis. Fire prevention and planning is a necessity to prevent what happened in Redding this year. Evaluation of our fireworks policy should be on the agenda. We have such an eclectic community, it would be fantastic to hold regular town hall meetings to move this community forward and bring the community together with pride. We have the opportunity to lead in many issues such as homelessness. Let’s be visionaries and take a stand for those which are vulnerable in our community.

What are three personal accomplishments that show you are ready for this job?
Though personal goals and accomplishments are important, I prefer to highlight some accomplishments that required a coalition of people to be successful. These better articulate how I am ready to be a consensus builder for the City of Bend as its Mayor. First, I am on the executive committee for the Cannabis Law Section of the Oregon State Bar. For the last two years we have been working to develop a section of the State Bar for an entirely new practice area of law. There are currently only two states with Cannabis Law Sections, though it is one of the fastest growing areas of the law. I was nominated and appointed because of my previous work with cannabis law reform and as one of the earlier attorneys to specialize in cannabis law. I helped steer an annual Cannabis Law Institute to Bend that will premiere in 2019. Second, I supported and campaigned for Measure 91 which brought cannabis under a statewide tax and regulated system and ended cannabis prohibition in Oregon. After helping to change the laws at the state level, I served on the City of Bend’s Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee to help draft proposed rules to regulate cannabis businesses within the city of Bend. This industry has brought millions of dollars of economic growth to Bend and Central Oregon and will continue to do so in the future. It has benefited many ancillary businesses in the community such as realtors, accountants, electricians, contractors, security companies, engineers, software designers, etc. Third, I have been working to bring back the industrial hemp industry for over 25 years. I served on the ODA’s Industrial Hemp Rules Advisory Committee to help draft rules for the hemp industry in Oregon. I am also one of the pioneers of hemp production for flower. The hemp industry is back and will soon be another multi-million-dollar industry that is spurring economic growth in Central Oregon. All these efforts show my ability to collaborate with others and succeed in achieving difficult goals.

Our streets are more crowded these days. How do you plan to get community support for a transportation plan that works for Bend the next 20-50 years?
There was an excellent presentation at the Tower Theatre last month by Jeffrey Tumlin about transportation. There were members of the land use and planning staffs from the county and city there. I am not sure if any City Councilors were there, but they should have been. This presentation was very educational about transportation issues in general. He talked about determining what “values” were important to a city before setting transportation policy. Thus, the most important step in building community support for a transportation plan is establishing those values. This will require extensive and exhaustive discussions with the citizens. Currently, the city is building around hubs and this is a good idea, as it creates neighborhoods where shopping and other amenities are within walking and biking distances. This should continue as it will reduce some street traffic. The city should also explore safe bike, pedestrian and scooter only corridors. However, we also need to build into our transportation plan ways to reduce traffic caused by tourism. Oregon State University should build a large parking garage and make it included as part of tuition, so the students do not have to pay extra for its use. The downtown area should also build an additional parking garage to eliminate parking congestion. Additionally, the city should reserve several parking spaces in the downtown and Old Mill districts for bus and trams from hotels. These drop-off and pick-up areas would encourage hotels and their guests to use the hotel’s group transportation and help reduce traffic during peak tourist season. Another way to cut down on tourist traffic is to have a city owned trolley, paid for by TRT, that would shuttle tourists from the hotels to the hotspots of Bend on a frequent schedule making it a viable option for the tourists to go and get back to their hotel with ease. We need citizen input to truly build community support for our future transportation plan.

It’s tough to purchase or rent a home when you live in Bend. How do you plan to build more workforce housing for large and small companies trying to grow here in Bend?
First, the current UGB will need to be filled in to increase the workforce and affordable housing options in the city. This may require the city establishing a requirement that at least 10-20 percent of future developments will be for workforce and affordable housing. This will require high-density developments in most circumstances. However, these developments will only work if they are accepted by the surrounding neighborhood. This will require developers to present plans that mitigate neighborhood concerns and integrate the development into the surrounding area. This will require an open and honest notice and comment period for developments. Currently in Northwest Crossing, there is some multi-family housing mixed among the community and it looks terrific and residents of NW Crossing seem very accepting. As Mayor, I would strive to bring developers and neighbors to a consensus so more affordable housing can be built. Second, we need to approach our future UBG with a collaborative approach involving the county. There is potential land available to increase the UGB, but there are potential legal hurdles that would need to be addressed. If accomplished, it could provide land in the UGB that could be used for workforce and affordable housing. Additionally, we should make it a priority to create more mixed-use zoning paring commercial and residential. Developing a tiny home community hub (Juniper Ridge maybe) that could vary from affordable housing to those who just are looking to live a minimalist footprint. This would require a lot of land use changes; however, I believe it is something that could be accomplished and would reward our entire city and all its residents.

Bend is known for its economic and cultural vitality. What’s your plan for keeping these two cornerstones of Bend’s livability for the future?
Economically, the city needs to keep fostering a business-friendly environment. We also must attract new businesses, especially manufacturers and high tech. The cannabis industry will continue to see growth but will soon be surpassed by the hemp and hemp product industry. Bend has a chance to attract large-scale, international CBD businesses, including those from the pharmaceutical sector. I would work to bring a public/private collaboration to conduct Impaired driving research with the Bend Police Department, OSU-Cascades and private companies developing systems for accurately determining cannabis impairment. As Mayor, I would work diligently to attract businesses from all sectors to locate in the city of Bend.
Culturally, Bend has much to offer. As a fan and supporter of Bend’s arts and entertainment scene, as Mayor I would be an ambassador to artists and entertainers and always welcome these visitors to our city. My family and I have seen so many great performances in Bend. I would work with Councilor Moseley to find a way to finance the building of a fine arts center. Bend lacks the type of fine arts performing center that its citizens deserve. A state-of-the-art performance center would benefit local and traveling artists alike, including the local schools and university. Certain performances and artists that are too big for the Tower Theater would be able to use a new fine arts center. I would support looking for various ways to fund this project including TRT, cannabis taxes and private funding. A modern fine arts center is the last piece of the puzzle for continuing Bend’s cultural vitality in the future.

  • Trial Lawyers College
  • OSB