Are we cool or what? Last week, Facebook itself friended Central Oregon. On Thursday, Facebook officials were in Prineville to announce a new $188.2 million, 147,000-square-foot data center. (If you want to keep abreast of the project, you can become a fan of the Prineville Data Center on Facebook). The announcement, and some other recent goings-on, got me thinking about how we could be even cooler. Here are some of my ideas:
MT B: MOST UPHILL-FRIENDLY DOWNHILL AREA
On January 19, a revised uphill travel policy that includes a designated route to the summit, went into effect on Mt. Bachelor. According to the Mt. Bachelor website, "The uphill route to the Mt. Bachelor summit is open during sustainably safe conditions, i.e. when the Summit chairlift is open to the public, following avalanche reduction work and grooming operations."I asked some local backcountry afficionados what they thought of the revised policy. "My hope is it is just a first step," said one. "For one, I'd like to see access to the summit expanded to include hours before opening and after closing of the lifts."
Wouldn't it be cool if Mt B., rather than comparing themselves to areas that ban uphill travel completely, recognized the marketing potential of being the "most uphill-friendly" downhill area in the country?
SKYLINERS ROAD: AWESOME RECREATIONAL CORRIDOR
Wouldn't it also be cool if we transformed Skyliner Road from a pothole-infested road into an awesome recreational corridor? Imagine smooth pavement and cycling/running/rollerskiing paths.
On Monday, the Deschutes County Commission held a work session to discuss conflicts between cycling events like the Cascade Cycling Classic and the USA Cycling Road National Championships and the residents of Skyliners Road who have been inconvenienced. Obviously, people need to be able to access their homes, but those homes could also become more valuable if they are on a top-notch recreational corridor.
At the same time that the commisioners are considering limits to permits for events to appease residents, the county and the city of Bend are trying to accelerate the process of rebuilding Skyliners Road. The recent designation of the road as a federal forest highway qualifies the project for 100 percent federal funding. The catch is that funding likely wouldn't arrive until 2013 to 2016. The city, however, must rebuild the water line beneath the road linking the Bridge Creek intake with Bend's water system by 2012 to meet new EPA standards. I sure hope they are successful.
COLORADO DAM: PREMIER WHITEWATER PARK
On January 5, the Bend Park and Recreation District's Board of Directors reviewed the January 2010 Colorado Street Dam report and chose Option 1A. The estimated $2-million project will split the river into three channels: one for floaters on inner tubes and air mattresses adjacent to McKay Park; a white water play channel in the center, with three dynamic pools and drops and an area of protected habitat on river right.
The recommended Colorado Street Dam improvements are not yet included in the district's Capital Improvement Plan. Private fund raising may be a strategy that could result in moving ahead with the proposed paddle trailimprovements. Won't it be super cool when we have a premier whitewater park right in the middle of Bend?
BEND: MOST BIKE SHOPS
Hey, we have another bike shop in town. The opening of Bend Velo at 1631 NE 2nd Street last Saturday featured 30 contestants duking it out in Gold Sprint roller races.
Owner Eric Power is focusing on an underserved niche in the Bend market. "There are a lot of shops here geared to racing. I want to bring the Portland bike commuter culture to Bend. A bicycle should replace a car - fenders, kickstands, flat pedals and lights. And I'll rebuild an old bike for commuting before selling someone a new one."
I now count 11 bike shops within an approximate 1-mile radius of my house. In order of distance:
Hutch's (Westside), Northwest Adventures, Sagebrush Cycles, Bend Cyclery, Sunnyside Sports, Webcyclery, Pine Mountain Sports, Bend Bike N Sport, REI, Hutch's (Eastside) and now Bend Velo.
Which means we boast approximately one bike shop for every 7,273 residents. Not bad, but Boston has one bike shop for every 3,591 people (according to the 2007 Thunderhead Report of Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.). Can you believe, to be as cool as Boston, we actually need 11 more bike shops?