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Colorado Dam

Colorado Dam CamColorado Dam Safe Passage

Bond-Funded Project

BPRD Project Phase 4 graphic




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Closures, Detours & Maps

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Dam Cam Live Feed & Timelapse Video

Overview: Design and construct new pedestrian bridge over the Deschutes River and in-stream channel improvements to reduce hazards and increase recreational opportunities. See bottom of the page for additional future renderings of the project.


Current Project Update: Construction has commenced on the Colorado Dam Safe Passage project. The first phase of the project, building a detour route from the Deschutes River Trail to Colorado Avenue, is complete. By the end of November work is expected to begin on the river isolation phase, including driving the sheet pile wall for construction of the center island. Please observe closures and detours while traveling in and around the project area.

Colorado Undercrossing and DRT Trail Extensions: Staff is working to develop an alignment for the Deschutes River Trail up and down stream of the undercrossing connecting Miller’s Landing Park and the Old Mill District.  The District secured an easement for the trail alignment ensuring permanent trail access for the public. The District was notified in late October that it received a $100,000 Recreational Trails Program Grant award from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The grant will help fund trail improvements scheduled to begin in spring 2015.

The Bend Paddle Trail Alliance has committed to fundraising about $233,000 in additional funds to support the project.  Please visit for more information on how to support their efforts.

The project will reconstruct the Colorado Dam to create three river channels – one for safe passage for floaters and fish passage, one for active recreation such as whitewater kayakers and one for wildlife habitat. The project also includes construction of a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge and new park amenities at McKay Park on the river’s west side. The general contractor is Hamilton Construction and the principal engineer is Otak, Inc. The total funding for the project is $9,681,985 including Bend Paddle Trail Alliance’s fundraising commitment of $1,133,737.  The project is anticipated to be completed by fall of 2015, however, work will continue in McKay Park and along the Deschutes River Trail into 2016.

Areas affected include Colorado Dam, Miller’s Landing Park, the Deschutes River, Deschutes River Trail on both east and west sides of the river, McKay Park, Colorado Dam footbridge, Colorado Ave. bridge, Shevlin Hixon Rd. and private properties in the north end of the Old Mill District.

On Wednesday, October 1, Hamilton Construction will begin to mobilize on site. For the first two weeks of October, work will include trail construction, trailer installation, fencing, signage, installation of temporary access path to Colorado Ave. bridge and various preparations for project closures and detours. Closures and detours are anticipated to begin in the first half of October. Street access in the area is expected to remain open with temporary closures using flaggers.

Project closures will include:

  • Colorado Dam footbridge
  • McKay Park
  • Deschutes River access

Starting this fall through spring 2015, river access will be limited from approximately 600 feet upriver of the Colorado Dam to downriver of McKay Park. A detour corridor to access the downstream reach of the river will be available through McKay Park.

Detours will include area trails and pathways:

  • on east and west sides of the river including the Deschutes River Trail
  • to Miller’s Landing Park
  • to the Old Mill District
  • around McKay Park.

Footbridge traffic will be detoured to the sidewalk and bike lane on the north side of the Colorado Ave. bridge. A temporary path will be built on the west side of the bridge for access from Shevlin Hixon Rd. and McKay Park.

Click to view closure and detour maps for the project.  Closures and detours are expected to last the length of the project and may vary with project needs. In addition, the City of Bend is constructing new sewer infrastructure in the vicinity so additional closures by the city should be expected.

BPRD appreciates the community’s patience during the project. 

For all Colorado Dam Safe Passage past updates, click here.

Location: Colorado Dam on the Deschutes River, by McKay and Miller's Landing Parks

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Total Budget: $9,681,985

Budgeted 2014-15 Fiscal Year: $1,672,500

Funding Sources:

  • Bond - $7,721,025

  • Partnership - $1,133,737 (Bend Paddle Trail Alliance)

  • Facility Reserve Fund - $ 827,223

Estimated Completion: Fall 2015

Colorado Dam Aerial View of Current SiteBackground: The Colorado Dam project has been described as three projects in one: a safe passage for boaters and tubers, habitat restoration for fish, birds and amphibians, and a constructed whitewater feature for kayakers. The district is working in partnership with the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance who will raise funds from private sources for the project. Changes to the dam and the addition of the whitewater area will necessitate improvements to McKay Park and potential replacement of the pedestrian bridge.

River floating began in earnest in Bend when Farewell Bend Park opened access to the calm moving portion of the Deschutes River above the Colorado Street Dam in 2005. Since then, there have been several accidents and one death at the dam. The safe passage channel will allow river users to travel through the dam without having to portage, as is now required.

Colorado Dam current spillwayBend Paddle Trail Alliance has developed a fundraising plan to raise $1,133,73 they have committed toward the project. To learn more, go to

Additional Information: For more information on Colorado Dam Safe Passage, contact Chelsea Schneider, Project Manager at (541) 706-6155 or or Brian Hudspeth, BPRD Construction Manager, at (541) 706-6137 or

Rendering of future Colorado Safe Passage