Bend's Core Area Inspires Ideas | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Bend's Core Area Inspires Ideas 

Of those who filled out the City's online questionnaire, most ID transportation as the biggest issue

click to enlarge CITY OF BEND
  • City of Bend
Interest in developing Bend's Core Area into an attractive area for living, doing business and traversing the city is increasing, according to reports from the City of Bend.

The Core Area Project includes four areas included in Bend's 2016 Urban Growth Boundary expansion: the Bend Central District, Hwy 20/Greenwood and KorPine—as well as the Greater East Downtown, Wilson and Division sub-areas. The City has already invested in a great deal of planning for the BCD—generally located in the area between Northeast Revere and Franklin Avenues and Northeast First and Fourth Streets.

During the City's quest to create a common vision and implementation plan for the Core Area, it's had multiple public involvement periods, including six pop-in events in May, two in-person open houses in June and an online open house that concluded last Friday.

Although all comments from the online open house haven't been compiled yet, Allison Platt, a senior planner with the City said "transportation issues" was the most prevalent topic from the 373 people who filled out the questionnaire. Platt said that since the first of the pop-ups in May, more people have taken an interest in the project, and about 80 new people have signed up for updates from the City.

Platt said the City is in the process of compiling a summary report of public outreach efforts to date, which will be available inside the next Urban Renewal Advisory Board meeting packet, to be posted on the City's website Aug. 6.

The purposes of the Core Area Project are vast. The idea is to develop an urban design framework for the area, identify how to enhance transportation—both for cars and cyclists/pedestrians—within the Core Areas and the rest of the city, to encourage affordable housing projects, to develop infrastructure, and to secure funding strategies like urban renewal and possible zoning changes, to name just some of the goals.

Jake Ertle is a member of the group that owns the property on 3rd Street, where the Platypus Pub is located—which falls in the BCD area. Ertle said he's been working with the City on development in the area since the implementation of the City's BCD Multi-Modal Mixed-Use Area Plan in 2014.

"I love the concept," Ertle said. "I hope it's executed well, and I hope it happens sooner than later—and doesn't turn into another Juniper Ridge." Juniper Ridge is an area of city-owned industrial land on the north side of Bend, once the object of much speculation and development planning that never came to fruition. Last month, the Bend City Council appointed seven people to a new Juniper Ridge Management Advisory Board to reinvigorate the effort to develop the area, and to find out why past efforts failed.

In 2017, Central Oregon LandWatch—a conservation group located in Bend—formed the BCD Initiative, intended as a platform to advocate for the Bend Central District. BDC's projected outcomes for this year are to adopt a community vision for the Franklin Avenue corridor—including streetscapes and murals inside the underpass—and the creation of a pipeline for development project that furthers the BCD vision.

Bill Caram, the Orchard District Neighborhood Association chair, said the Association is a big supporter of the Core Area effort and hopes it leads to an adoption of an urban renewal district.

The Orchard District's boundary includes the BCD. Caram said his association wants the plan to involve greater east-west connectivity for bikes and pedestrians, as well as more mixed-use development and affordable housing.

Larry Sidor, co-founder of Crux Fermentation Project—located in the KorPine area—said Crux is 100% behind the Core Area Project—if all new roads are built to City standards. Sidor said Bend has a serious east-west traffic problem, as well as a lack of contiguous bike paths. Sidor said most of what he's seen so far in the Core Area Project will help address these issues.

"My favorite thing so far is making Southeast Aune Street into an east-west traffic corridor," Sidor said in an email to the Source. "Prior to our friendly neighbors gating Industrial Way, there was a significant amount of local traffic using it."

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