BEND, OR -- Complaints came pouring in to Bend Park and Recreation Tuesday from families struggling to register for fall programs. Registration opened at 6 a.m. but the district’s website crashed intermittently until 8:30, as thousands tried to sign up for swim lessons, ice hockey, and non-school day programs all at the same time.
Those trying to sign up in those first two hours were met with spinning circles and log-in errors. BPRD's Julie Brown called it a "disappointment" for the district, "It was a confluence of a couple of different things and the underlying issue that we are having is that we have very, very high demand and stress on our registration system, all at exactly the same time."
Brown says it’s common for demand to be high in the first couple hours, "But what we have seen recently - and it has been an incremental increase over the last couple of years - it is doubling and tripling in volume in those first couple of hours in a way that we have not been able to keep up the technology piece of it. But, it also tells us that our community has probably grown to a size where we do need to think about opening registration differently, and maybe having some staggered openings."
Brown says BPRD had 8,400 registrations between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday. That's 200 fewer than opening day for summer registration in April 2022, which set a Bend Parks and Rec record. The first day of fall registration in 2018 saw 1,000 registrations by 1 p.m. For fall of 2019, there were 1,500.
She says discussions of staggering registrations are longside talk of expanding current technology and possibly changing the time of day registration opens. But the biggest issues are with those most favored activities, "Our swim lessons are a very, very popular program that have high demand, as well as when we have those non-school day programs and summer camps, as well as our ice season programs. You know, hockey and curling and our learn-to-skate programs are very, very popular. And what happened was that several of those high-demand programs were opening at the same time."
According to BPRD, 85% of registrations on Tuesday occurred online. The remaining 15% were in person or by phone. If you didn’t get into the programs you wanted, Brown encourages you to sign up for the waiting list. Here are the most popular registrations on Tuesday:
- 2,800: swim lessons including 1,400 enrolled and 1,400 on waitlists
- 1,500: ice programs including skate lessons and hockey
- 1,400: sports programs
Image: BPRD posted to their Facebook page Tuesday morning