South UGB Segment

Project Phase: Planning

Bond-Funded Project
Overview: Located at the southwest corner of Bend along the Deschutes River, the District desires to extend the Deschutes River Trail through this area to a new footbridge offering bike/pedestrian access to the Deschutes National Forest and trails that extend to Sunriver. New public trails would also link to the Cinder Cone Park and Elk Meadow in the RiverRim neighborhood. Potential trailhead parking accessed via Buck Canyon Road is also part of the evaluation. The following documents are all downloadable PDFs for your review.

Location: Southwest Bend neighborhoods west of Brookswood Blvd.

Overall Budget:   
Footbridge – $ 800,240
Trails – $ 137,229
Trailhead Parking – $ 253,074

Funding Source: BPRD Bond Measure 9-86

Planning: 2014-2020

Construction:  To be determined

Estimated Completion: To be determined

Background: In past BPRD surveys, residents have always placed a high priority on urban recreational trails that provide close-to-home recreation opportunities by connecting neighborhoods to parks, the river and other destinations.  BPRD has been working since the early 1980’s to develop a continuous Deschutes River Trail within Bend, with the intent of ultimately connecting it north to Tumalo State Park and south to Sunriver.  Various segments have been completed on both sides of the River, but several gaps remain.  One such gap is on the east side of the River that would generally connect the RiverRim neighborhood and surrounding area across the Deschutes River to the Deschutes National Forest and the existing Deschutes River Trail.  A new footbridge in this general location has been identified in various City of Bend planning documents since 1995.

Since the passage of the BPRD bond measure 9-86 in 2012, BPRD worked on an initial evaluation of the feasibility of associated trail connections, potential trailhead parking, and installing a new footbridge generally over the river near the southwest corner of the Bend City Limits/Urban Growth Boundary.

Public comments were gathered during an initial project open house held in 2014 and from a direct mail questionnaire sent to over 800 residents. BPRD also established a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) that met several times to establish a set of agreed-upon selection criteria to evaluate conceptual trail and bridge locations.  The CAC evaluated five conceptual bridge and eight trail options, as well as the public input.  At their last meeting on April 9, 2015 the CAC selected Bridge Option 3 and Trail Option 3C (shown in the sidebar to the right) as their preferred bridge and trail locations to move forward and conduct further engineering and environmental evaluations.  That information was presented to the BPRD Board who chose to not take action pending a resolution of issues that arose concerning limitations on uses within the Oregon State Scenic Waterway which would ultimately impact the CAC’s preferred trail and bridge location recommendation.

BPRD worked with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) staff and reached out to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to address the Oregon Scenic Waterway prohibition on new bridges and requested that the Commission amend the State Scenic Waterway Rule to not allow footbridges in a specific location, but allow property owners the ability to request to build bicycle/pedestrian bridges across the scenic waterway.  In 2016, the Commission declined to amend the rule and instead directed OPRD staff to conduct a formal review of the issue.

As a result, OPRD has begun a limited review of the administrative provisions within its Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) covering the lowest portion of the Upper Deschutes State Scenic Waterway. The scenic waterway, designated in 1988, starts one mile north of Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) at the COID canal intake then extends across the UGB upstream to Wickiup Reservoir.

The current OPRD staff review does not focus on any one aspect of management and will not change any rules, but will consider how well the administrative provisions work within the Bend Urban Growth Boundary. In addition to OPRD staff, an advisory group—the Upper Deschutes Advisory Group (UDAG)—will assist with the review, and includes: city, county, and federal officials, BPRD, neighborhood associations along the scenic waterway, and recreation advocates interested in both river and land-based recreation. OPRD has hired Community Solutions of Central Oregon, a Bend nonprofit, to facilitate the meetings and review. The nonprofit will also collect broader public thoughts about rules along the lower section of the waterway through a web-based crowd sourcing initiative at http://solutionsco.org/crowdsourcing.htm?m=3&s=751, as well as a series of public forums designed to engage homeowners directly.

More information about the review is online at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/Pages/upper-deschutes-scenic-waterway.aspx. The review will result in a report to OPRD Director Lisa Sumption in April 2017. After receiving the report, Director Sumption will decide whether a new round of formal rule making will start.

The current review is being managed solely by OPRD staff, and you can contact Central Oregon Solutions directly via email at: deschutes@solutionsco.org

If you have BPRD-related questions or comments regarding the South UGB segment of the Deschutes River Trail, please feel free to contact: Steve Jorgensen, Planning Manager,(541) 706-6153 or steve@bendparksandrec.org.

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Project Area

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Potential Trail and Footbridge Alignments