Drake Park is a premier park and hugely popular gathering place within the City of Bend. Well loved and heavily used, the banks of the Deschutes River at Drake Park and Pacific Park have now deteriorated over time, resulting in safety and environmental issues. The district worked with engineers and landscape architects to develop plans to improve the banks and finish the design of the Deschutes River Trail through Drake Park and Pacific Park.
Goals of the project:
- Advance the community vision of Mirror Pond approved by the district’s Board of Directors and the Bend City Council in March 2015
- Improve river-right bank from Galveston Avenue Bridge to Portland Avenue Bridge
- Repair Deschutes River Trail surface through Drake Park and extend the trail through Pacific Park
- Address ADA access to the Deschutes River Trail throughout the project area
- Address environmental issues
- Consider impacts on river-right bank with or without the PacifiCorp dam
Drake Park and Pacific Park in Downtown Bend
Property Tax, SDC, and Grant Funding
For more information on the Drake Park Project, please contact
Tel: (541) 706-6137
The project is currently in active construction. Phase 1 is complete with Phase 2 beginning November 2022.
The district identified a number of safety, environmental and maintenance issues along the edges of the river bank associated with the deteriorating rock (sea) walls and failing or missing trail surface from Drake Park to Pacific Park.
For several years, the district, the City of Bend and others worked together to find a common community vision to address sediment accumulation, water quality and environmental issues in Mirror Pond. This process led the Board of Directors and the Bend City Council to adopt a Mirror Pond community vision March 2015. Background documents related to the past Mirror Pond Visioning Project are available by request.
The district is working towards implementing portions of the vision affecting Drake Park, Pacific Park and the Deschutes River Trail only.
- Phase One: Identify Priorities February to April 2017
- Phase Two: Schematic Design May to September 2017
- Phase Three: Design Development September to December 2017
- Phase Four: Construction Documentation June 2018 – Fall 2019
- Phase Five: Permitting Winter 2020
- Phase Six: Construction (in two sub-phases) Summer 2022/Spring 2023
How will this project change Mirror Pond?
This project is intended to improve safety, accessibility, and habitat along river right along Mirror Pond (from the Galveston Bridge) through Drake Park to Pacific Park. The project also includes extending the Deschutes River Trail through this area. This work does not currently include any work on river left of this reach. The project is not intended to change significant aspects of Mirror Pond.
Why is this project needed?
The district has deferred much needed maintenance and repair work necessary along the edges of the Deschutes River throughout Drake Park caused by deteriorating rock walls and failing trail surfaces. The district has been making temporary repairs (e.g. filling sink holes, installing fencing, repairing erosion and installing signage) to address some of these issues, but these measures are no longer sufficient. On-going wear from heavy public use, weather and general deterioration of the river bank edges have taken their toll. Maintenance and repair of these conditions requires further design and financial investment to properly rehabilitate the river bank and trails.
Will this project involve sediment removal?
Sediment removal is not part of the project scope. Designs for bank and riparian habitat improvements will accommodate changing water levels and the possibility of the PacifiCorp dam being removed at some point in the future. This project is only one step in the broader community vision adopted by the district’s Board of Directors and Bend City Council.
How can members of the community learn more and/or ask questions?
The project included opportunities for public updates throughout the project. Meeting details are communicated on this project webpage and via the district’s social media, local newspapers and email to community members who have signed up to receive updates.
Sign up for direct email notices or contact:
How long will this project take?
Construction is expected to be completed by Spring 2023.
Will the project’s bank plantings obstruct views to Mirror Pond?
The majority of Drake Park is at a higher elevation than Mirror Pond; therefore, the repair work designed along the pond’s edge and the establishment of riparian habitat will not significantly impact the view or enjoyment of walking along the pedestrian path.
Artist representations of how segments of pond’s edge may be re-vegetated:
What are the benefits of riparian edge over a concrete edge like there is now?
Riparian areas provide critical components for wildlife – water, shelter and food. Insect life supports birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Waterfowl and other birds depend on riparian areas for nesting, cover and wintering. Lawn does not provide this level of benefit and the existing seawall needs to be replaced with a more environmentally sensitive means to hold back the bank.
Will the size of the Drake Park lawn area change as a result of this project?
Drake Park will continue to be an important space for iconic events in Bend and the lawn area will remain central to the design. The amount of lawn space in the park for events will be virtually unchanged when the project is complete. Removing the concrete walls in some areas will be a reduction of lawn along the edge of the pond.
What impacts will the trail extension have on park trees?
The Bend Park and Recreation District cares deeply about the natural beauty in its parks, trails and surrounding facilities, and we are committed to preserving as many trees as possible. The Drake Park bank and trail project will retain the character of the park while also improving accessibility and safety with modern design standards.
We believe the project plan is the best way to retain the historic character of the park and make a trail/pathway that is accessible to all. We have spent a couple years working with certified arborists and landscape architects on the trail alignment to reduce impacts to mature trees.
The number of trees permitted for possible removal is a small number of the 400+ trees currently in Drake Park. For the permit, it’s necessary to list all trees that may be impacted rather than returning for case-by-case tree removal permission that would cause significant delays and costs during construction.
Have you considered a path around the trees?
With the grade changes necessary to meet ADA accessibility requirements, it is not possible to curve around all trees. The trail expansion is also necessary for pedestrians, bicycles, strollers, wheelchairs and other modes of trail use.
It’s important to know that there are more than 60 mature trees in the park prioritized for protection efforts along the trail and five times the number outside of the project area.