A contentious bill that would effectively ban a bridge over the portion of the Deschutes River that holds a State Scenic Waterway designation has passed its first test in the Oregon Legislature. The bill is now in the hands of the Joint Ways and Means Committee for a financial impact evaluation.
The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Brian Clem, D-Salem, passed the bill 8-1, adopting an amendment that stripped the bill of language that could have broadened the measure to include future projects on other rivers. Another amended version of the bill that would have created a task force on recreation along the Deschutes Scenic Waterway was proposed, but not voted on.
The bill could die in committee or be advanced to the House floor. In this short session, the Legislature must adjourn by March 11.