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Re: “Bend Park and Recreation District Closes Passageway Channel at Whitewater Park for Evaluation

I keep wondering what I'm missing here.

I enjoy stopping on my regular Old Mill stroll to watch the kayakers and surfers battling the river, something well beyond my age and skill range.

But I'm puzzled by the acrimony displayed by the whitewater enthusiasts with regards to the recent closure of the safe-passage channel. I wonder why they would think Bend residents would've voted for approval of the bond if we thought we were just going to get the chance to watch without benefit while still lugging our tubes and floaties around the Colorado Street bridge.

As part of the campaign for the Parks and Rec's bond, we were promised the chance to float all the way to downtown while we got to watch a growing river sport. The new passageway was to be family friendly, with a provision for fish passage as well...indeed, something for everyone. So, when I scanned the conceptual drawing displayed at the Drake Park 4th of July celebration during the construction period, I remarked to a BP&R employee manning the booth on what I supposed to be the fish ladder.

"Oh, no, that's not a fish ladder, that's the human passage side. The fish passage is on the opposite side," she said, pointing to the smooth flowing third of the river.

When I saw the framework as construction was being completed, I thought there were too many obstacles where a tuber could scrape body parts or expensive equipment...which has proven to be the case. And on the recent 90 degree weekend before the passage was closed, I wondered at the kayakers and boarders paddling upstream towards the floaters, creating further occasion for collision.

But BP&R, before closing it, explained it all to me. The passage was implemented as class 1 & 2 rapids to complement the class 3 & 4 in the middle!

Either Parks and Rec sold the public a bill of goods, or the river here is only meant for fish and active whitewater enthusiasts. Any way I can get my portion of the bond money back?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by jgreg0ry on 06/18/2016 at 4:04 PM

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