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Colorado Dam


Colorado Dam Safe Passage

Bond-Funded Project

BPRD Project Phase 3 graphic

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:  Permit documents are submitted to the regulatory agencies and are currently under review.  Final design documents are complete and out to bid.  Construction contracting should occur this summer and construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2014. 

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: $7,350,000

Budgeted 2013-14 Fiscal Year: $1,672,500

Funding Sources:

  • Bond - $5,950,000

  • Partnership - $900,000 (Bend Paddle Trail Alliance)

  • Possible grant - $500,000

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 $900,000 they have committed toward the project. To learn more, go to

Additional Information: For more information on Colorado Dam Safe Passage, call Chelsea Schneider at (541) 706-6155 or send an email to


Future rendering of Colorado Safe Passage