BEND, OR -- Neighbors who live and work near Bend's Hawthorne Station say the transit center is deteriorating and they're calling on City Councilors to help address concerns with transients, traffic congestion and the resulting health and safety issues.
Chris Edmonds is involved with Hawthorne Avenue Neighbors, a group that spoke to the Council at this week's meeting. He says they've tried to work with the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), which manages Hawthorne Station. And, while he believes most city leaders are sympathetic, there needs to be a greater effort. "In the past year, we've seen little in the way of meaningful progress in our efforts to resolve this issue working directly with COIC," he told Councilors. Bill Moore told the Council, "Name another city in the Pacific Northwest that has such a poor example of a transit Center. Even Redmond is better than this. That's embarrassing." Erin Foote Morgan told them attempts to work with COIC have come to no avail, and asked the Councilors to create a forum to discuss the transit issues, "Please press to ensure that a vision for a future station that is adequate to serve growing transit in our region is created."
COIC Executive Director Tammy Baney tells KBND News she's heard the complaints and appreciates the community involvement, "We share their concerns. As you know, the community is growing very quickly and that part of the community is seeing a lot of activity." She says that growth puts transit in flux and there are a lot of planning discussions currently underway, "We want people to take transit as a choice, so getting ahead of this discussion sooner rather than later is really important." She adds, "I don't see it as a COIC discussion in isolation. It's a discussion alongside the City Council, alongside the community, and figuring out how we serve the needs of the community while addressing those impacts."
Bend City Manager Eric King tells KBND News Council is already looking at ways to improve transportation, and Hawthorne Station is part of that conversation - including talk of possibly moving the transit hub to a more appropriate location.