Starting Saturday September 10, people in Bend can once again use the Farewell Bend pedestrian bridge, according to the Bend Park and Recreation District. The District and its contractors removed the old 75-year-old bridge—once used for logging work—earlier this year, with plans to replace it with a steel bridge that's 160 feet long and 12 feet wide. The old bridge, made with a timber frame, was showing signs of wear. In addition, the structure of the old bridge made it too conducive to bridge jumping, according to the Bend Park website.
"The new Farewell Bend Bridge opens up the view of the Deschutes River considerably and will hopefully serve us for as many years as its predecessor," said Brian Hudspeth, Bend Park and Recreation District development manager. "We appreciate everyone's patience and adherence to the detours while the project was underway."
With the reopening, the bridge will once again be a connecting point for walkers, runners and cyclists traveling between Farewell Bend Park, Riverbend Park and the Deschutes River Trail.
The headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge have been closed since January and will stay that way through the rest of 2016. According to a report from OPB, the headquarters and visitors center is undergoing a security upgrade, which could take until spring 2017.
The closure came after a 41-day seizure of the refuge by armed militants, allegedly led by Ammon Bundy. The militants took control of the refuge, arguing that all federal lands should be turned over to individual states. The last of the group surrendered peacefully in February—but only after one man was killed by law enforcement officers in January after allegedly reaching into his jacket for a gun.
According to OPB, the actual wetlands and roads at Malheur are open to visitors, and local officials encourage people to visit—but to visit the town of Burns for amenities instead of the visitor's center.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel is recovering from an auto accident that left him and another passenger hurt. Bend Police say Hummel was driving on NW 11th on Thursday, Sept. 1, when an SUV failed to stop at a stop sign. After the two cars collided, the driver of the SUV told police he was using his navigation system and didn't see the stop sign. The driver was ticketed for the crash. Another passenger in the SUV was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and DA Hummel was later treated for his injuries.