BEND, OR -- Deschutes County was inundated with snow last winter, and the City of Bend is preparing for another difficult winter.
David Abbas, Director of the City's Streets and Operations Department, says the City has updated their equipment, but they're also bringing on more staff so they can extend shifts or split the crew to cover more ground. He says one major change is the City is reevaluating her priorities to creating a map so residents can see where the plows have been working. "'Priority Ones' are mainly the major arterial roadways in town with the most traffic, and the most people, and allow emergency services to get across town, so we look at good north-south connectivity, as well as east-west."
Abbas says it's not reasonable to budget for the 1-in-25 year storm, but the Utilities Department is always looking for ways to improve their service, and they learn a lot when big storms hit and he says, in addition to equipment upgrades, increased staff, and new snowplow mapping, one big change is a new emphasis on working with the community.
New Snow Emergency Zones will be identified this winter, and no parking will be allowed in those zones for twelve hours to facilitate plowing. "So, we've selected a handful of roads that have been traditionally trouble spots when it snows, and they end up being kind of a one-lane road and if folks come back within that twelve hours and the road has been completely plowed, curb to curb, they're welcome to park."
Abbas says some things residents can do to help the plow teams include not parking on the street, and not leaving garbage cans out.