BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec will have to wait a little longer to hear whether the Oregon Parks Commission will allow a bridge over the Upper Deschutes River. The Bend agency had asked the state to change rules that don't allow bridges over scenic waterways. The state commission was expected to release a decision at the end of February.
Chris Havel, with Oregon Parks and Recreation, says they're delaying a decision because more study is needed, especially because the community is divided. "I know that people like to see completely clear and final decisions, rather than more work or more study. But, we just ask for patience. These are complicated issues and we don't want to rush them; we want to do it right."
Read more about the footbridge and proposed rule change.
He says it's important that the Commission study the whole stretch of river in the south end of Bend. "It's going to take months. One of the things we'll do when we're looking at this is, we need to see the river through several different seasons to see how use has changed, and to see how the river interacts with the community along its boundary. And, it's not something you can just sort of show up on one day, look at it, and walk away with an impression of how the river works. So, it is going to take months; could take up to a year."
The Oregon Parks Commission will vote on the staff recommendation at Wednesday's meeting. Havel tells KBND News, "The next step, if the Commission decides to direct us to do this study, would be to assembly a group of people who would work together in public way to do the study work; to say 'what's the river like now?' 'What are the different plans and goals that are already working in this area, and how do they all work together, and how should they all work together?'"