Footbridge Marches On | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Footbridge Marches On 

A petition urging Bend Park and Rec to resume work on a pedestrian bridge south of town nears 2,000 signatures

A nonprofit community group called Connect Bend is seeking to advance a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Deschutes River on the south side of Bend. The project has been deprioritized by Bend Park and Recreation District amid pushback from adjacent homeowners and the environmental group Oregon Wild.

The proposed footbridge would cross in this area, expanding pedestrian access to the Deschutes National Forest Recreation area. - COURTESY CONNECT BEND
  • Courtesy Connect Bend
  • The proposed footbridge would cross in this area, expanding pedestrian access to the Deschutes National Forest Recreation area.

Voters approved the project by a margin of 52.11% to 47.89% in a 2012 bond measure that also funded the Bend Whitewater Park and The Pavilion skating rink. The proposed bridge would complete the Deschutes River Trail from Tumalo State Park to Sunriver.

"There's no good reason this footbridge hasn't been built already," said Ted Schoenborn, a retired BPRD board member and advisor to Connect Bend, in a press release on Oct. 20. "Just special interests and red tape. We voted for this. We paid for it. We need to go ahead."

Two bills sought to ban the project in 2017 and 2018, both failing in the Oregon Senate. Opponents say the bridge could disturb that portion of the Deschutes, which is protected as a Wild and Scenic River. Those aiming to build within a quarter-mile of Wild and Scenic River banks must notify the governing statewide body and meet river-specific guidelines. At a 2015 public hearing on the project most opponents were adjacent landowners worried about vandalism and increased foot traffic near their homes.

"Environmentally, this is a positive for the Bend area," said Larry Waters, a board member, career public works director, and head of Connect Bend's environmental outreach effort. "The areas near the proposed site are beaten down. They need care and management. This project enables us to do that work."

Connect Bend's petition is seeking 10,000 signatures to pressure BPRD to resume work on the bridge, claiming it would reduce traffic and connect more people to the outdoors. At the time of publication over 1,800 people have signed on.

"Up to 15,000 people in southern Bend do not have direct access to these outdoor areas," said Brett Stinski, a board member of Connect Bend. "There are no parks in the Deschutes River Woods. One simple project would improve the lives of a lot of people."

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
Pin It

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Bend Christmas Parade

Bend Christmas Parade - Downtown Bend

Sat., Dec. 4, 12 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Local News

More by Jack Harvel

  • It's a (OE)RAP

    It's a (OE)RAP

    Gov. Kate Brown looks to extend safe harbor for tenants as applications continue to be processed
    • Dec 1, 2021
  • Back to Work?

    Back to Work?

    A year and a half after a COVID-caused recession, employment numbers exceed pre-pandemic levels
    • Dec 1, 2021
  • Ski You Later

    Ski You Later

    Mt. Bachelor is postponing its opening day for the second time, and this time there's no set date
    • Dec 1, 2021
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation