Having recently moved to Bend from drought-stricken areas, I'm a pro at water conservation. I have lived 58 years consciously protecting a precious resource. I live alone, don't flush every use, don't shower every day, nor plant thirsty gardens. I know how to survive well on a very low income and don't expect freebies, but in turn expect fairness in billing. I'm often away from home and was recently gone for six weeks. My water bill is always over $80 a month, even without any water/sewer usage, not qualifying yet for elder help and not away long enough for a hold on billing, it was a case of giving up groceries to pay the water bill. If this weren't a "government-run" utility, I would cry foul or theft. Something really needs to be corrected here, so it was refreshing to see your article touch upon this, but I get the feeling nothing will be done anytime soon. Other than this, I love Bend.
k b milaine
Thanks for your feature "Dive in" highlighting the breadth of water issues facing our community. It was great to see stormwater make this comprehensive list since it is an increasingly important water quality issue in more populated areas of the country. For example, 75 percent of the toxic chemicals getting into Puget Sound in Washington are being delivered by stormwater runoff.
One significant correction: The majority of stormwater in the Willamette Valley and the nation is not captured in combined sewer piping systems and delivered to wastewater treatment plants. The majority of urban runoff in the nation is collected in storm drain systems and discharged directly to surface water bodies, including rivers, creeks, lakes, and the ocean, without any kind of treatment. A big piece of the downtown and westside core of Bend discharges directly to the Deschutes River through such storm drains. This is obviously a concern and the combined sewer systems that you described are actually also a major concern because during large rain events the combined sewer system can have so much stormwater and raw sewage flowing through them that they overflow at the treatment plant—delivering not just untreated stormwater but also the raw sewage into local water bodies. That's why the city of Portland (one of the rare cities that thought combined sewer systems was a good idea back in the day) is trying to divert stormwater from residential areas out of the combined sewer system.
Really, we need more rain and snowmelt infiltrating into the ground and recharging our aquifers, the way that rain and snow melt did before we covered over the watershed with impervious surfaces (roads, driveways, roofs, etc.). But we want that stormwater being infiltrated into the ground in small doses, spread across the landscape, ideally close to where the rain originally falls or the snow melts, and filtered through a healthy layer of vegetation and soil. We do not want to concentrate stormwater at a few low spots in our cityscape and inject it into the ground untreated through dry wells and drill holes. That is how groundwater gets contaminated.
There is a name for places with large amounts of parking, lighting and camping. It's called a Walmart parking lot. But unlike Walmart the purpose of MTB trails is not to bring lots of people together for a concentrated shopping experience. It is to disperse people out onto various trails so they may enjoy an outdoor experience.
So, it makes no sense to concentrate a large number of users simply to then have to try to figure out a way to disperse them again. I'm all in favor of modest improvements to the trailhead at Phil's. Beyond that, however, any further expansion should be at other locations. Additional trailheads can be added or improved as necessary. A further advantage is that the facilities can be better tailored to the specific uses common to that location and the trails in that vicinity.
You've got your $3,000 bike, you've got your jersey, you've got your pack with your hydration bladder overflowing with gear, and you can't wait to get super radical on Phil's Trail. You throw all your gear into your gas-guzzling pickup truck and drive the two and a half miles to the trailhead and you arrive and WTF why is it so fucking crowded? Arrggghhhh. Your bike is a vehicle, ride your fucking bike to the bike trail and if you don't have the endurance to ride the short distance to the trailhead then sign up for a spin class until you do.
It is easy to use inflammatory words like homophobic about Boy Scouts but it also reveals your competence level since policies at National do not represent views of volunteers in the organization that help mentor and teach skills and character of our youth which includes respecting others. We do not discuss or teach about sexuality, as it is not our responsibility. You may not know the thousands of hours we help others in our community from helping the homeless to collecting food for those that are not so fortunate. I doubt you cover all the positive aspects of the Boy Scouts but that is OK, we do not ask or expect coverage of our work as our humility and dedication goes well beyond the silliness that we see from comments like yours who clearly do not understand the work and values we are instilling in our youth across the U.S. and in our local community of Bend and Central Oregon.
Meg Bookover, your letter provide no examples of "empty promises," but if you had I'm sure they wouldn't come close to the emptiness of global warming or Robin Hood-inspired collectivist class warfare, which is being passed off as education these days in schools.
And to Sue Bastian. Boston is your people in action—defenseless people cowering in their homes while liberal leadership orders destruction of individual rights to catch a single jihadist whom we were assured by your boy Barry no longer existed after the death of Bin Laden. Wallow in this one, bask in the glory. This is liberal utopia in action.
Swimming in the warm summertime in Bend is a real treat. But it can be better: Bend needs a nude swim and sunbathing area. There's nothing like the sun and wind caressing every inch of your skin; and then diving into refreshingly cool water. You might even bring along a beer or two. And all the buff athletes in town can show off...in the buff!
Any ideas where?