BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation pitched its idea to build a bridge over the Deschutes River to River Rim homeowners, Thursday night. The proposed footbridge would link the Deschutes River Trail with Forest Service trails south of Bend. Neighbors are split over the idea, which would reroute the River Trail through their subdivision.
Steve Jorgensen, with Bend Parks and Rec outlined the district's plan to ask the State Parks Department to allow a bridge on a stretch of the river designated as Wild and Scenic. “We’re trying to amend state law to allow bridges in the first place. So, that is our focus. We have met with Oregon State Parks; they are the controller of the Scenic Waterway program in this state. So everything that revolves around state scenic waterways goes through the Oregon Parks Commission.” But, it the process is just beginning. “So even though it could be allowed by law, we could still wind up with a denial. It happens. It’s happened around the state at some other rivers.”
Many homeowners at Thursday night's meeting objected to the potential for increased traffic and parking. Others felt those would be a small price to pay for getting a new bridge over the river.
The Oregon Parks Commission will accept e-mail testimony
on the proposed law change through 5 p.m., Friday.