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Public perception survey results available

February 23, 2023

The Bend Park and Recreation District surveys community members and the latest results are available to the board of directors and the public. Every few years, BPRD conducts surveys to gauge awareness, perceptions and priorities of Bend residents in regards to parks and recreation services. These results directly inform district communications and services and identify community priorities for future programs and projects.

From October to mid-November 2022, Portland-based DHM Consulting posed questions such as:

  • How satisfied are you with the services of Bend Park and Recreation District?
  • Is the district utilizing your tax dollars wisely and efficiently?
  • Do you feel welcome and safe in parks, trails and facilities?

Surveys were collected in two ways. A general population survey was administered at random to gain statistically valid results that reflect the demographics of the community. There were 400 surveys collected in the effort. As a next step, an open link survey was made available on the website, via social media and at outreach events to seek answers to the same questions to anyone who wished to participate. The open link survey yielded 510 responses for a total of more than 900 surveys taken between both surveys.

Awareness, satisfaction and value

According to the results, community members are positive about the quality of life in Bend and about how well local governments are serving the community.

  • More than eight in 10 residents rate quality of life in Bend positively (94% in open link survey; 81% in general population survey). While marks are high, this is a reduction from the all-time high of 98% reported in 2019 in the general population survey.
  • Parks, trails and recreation services rise to the top of the list of services residents feel are a good value. On a scale of one to 10, general population survey respondents give parks and recreation services an average ranking of 7.9, and open link respondents give an average rating of 8.2, the highest marks for public service options.
  • More than eight in 10 are satisfied with BPRD services. Most residents are somewhat (42%) or very (42%) satisfied with BPRD.
  • Seventy percent of residents say that BPRD is heading in the right direction. This number has decreased since 2019 when 83% said BPRD was heading in the right direction. Eighty-two percent of open link respondents say that BPRD is heading in the right direction.
  • Eighty-one percent of residents have visited a park or trail in the past year and 53% have visited a recreational facility or participated in a recreational program. These results are reductions from 2019, following pandemic operational changes.

Mood and sentiment change

Generally, opinions are less strongly positive than in past surveys, most recently in 2019, 2016 and 2013.

Community members rate quality of life as “good” rather than “very good”; and note government is doing “well” rather than “very well.”

According to DHM Consulting, Oregonians statewide are relatively negative about government and the general direction of their communities. In this context, Bend residents appear more positive than those in other communities.

“As has been true for years, Bend residents are happier overall with their community compared to people in other cities across Oregon. Despite the challenges of the past few years, Bend residents tell us they appreciate the services they receive and remain positive about the quality of life in their community,” said Michelle Niess, president, DHM Consulting.

Safety

The 2022 survey included questions about inclusion and safety. A vast majority of residents agree that they feel welcome and safe at parks, trails and recreation facilities. Eighty-nine percent agreed with the statement, “I feel welcome at district parks, trails and facilities.” Eighty-six percent agreed with the statement, “I feel safe when I’m using district, parks, trails and facilities.”

Residents who reported they have used BPRD services in the past year are more likely to feel safe and welcome. There was a nearly 40-point difference in survey responses between those who use services and those who reported not using services in the past year.

“Receiving data about personal feelings of safety and being welcomed in our spaces is very important and the information will inform our work ahead to ensure we’re serving all members of our community,” said Michelle Healy, deputy executive director. “It’s important to us to serve long-time and new community members equitably and safety is a priority.”

BPRD board of directors and staff will use the results to inform services and future priorities and projects.

“There is opportunity to share more about BPRD’s efforts to contribute to livability in Bend and to partner with others in the community–one in five residents are unsure about BPRD’s activities in these areas, so we see that as an area to expand,” added Healy.

More survey results are available in the board meeting agenda packet (beginning on page 6).