Summary for Sept. 5 board of directors meeting

September 6, 2023

The Bend Park and Recreation District has moved a step forward with its design concepts to improve access at three of its riverfront parks: McKay, Miller’s Landing and Columbia parks. At the Sept. 5 public meeting, the BPRD board of directors approved the design concepts for four access points following individual votes for each park and access point. A video recording is available.

To better manage increased recreational river use, improve the experience for all users, and to better facilitate sustainable use of our river resource, BPRD developed the 2021 Deschutes River Access & Habitat Restoration Plan. Three individual projects from the River Plan, which encompass four river access points, have been combined into this single, larger project: the  McKay, Miller’s Landing, and Columbia Park’s River Access Project .

Based on the board’s guidance in spring 2023, extensive community and stakeholder feedback, and the opportunities and constraints of each location, preferred conceptual designs were developed for each of the four river access locations. These preferred conceptual designs, along with a description of existing conditions at each location, can be viewed here.  For all previous project information, please visit the project website.

The votes included:

  • McKay Park: 5 yes
  • Miller’s Landing #1: 5 yes
  • Miller’s Landing #2: 4-1 (Barram opposed)
  • Columbia Park: 3-2 (Owens and Borja opposed)

The next phase of the project will be to finalize the designs for Miller’s Landing and Columbia parks, while the design for McKay Park will be combined into the district’s Whitewater Park Maintenance Project, which is estimated to begin in 2024.

Check-in for Comprehensive Plan

In the work session, the board received an update from staff for a mid-term update to the 2018 Comprehensive Plan that typically guides 10 years of development projects. The check-in will begin with a community needs assessment survey to evaluate the community’s priorities and benchmark those against the 2018 plan. The update will also assess the progress of priority projects identified in the 2018 plan, update park search area maps and facilitate reprioritization of projects to remain responsive to community needs.

Staff anticipates that the update will be complete around summer 2024, and will provide the board with regular updates, as well as opportunities to review methodologies and proposed changes.

Tax-exemption program resolution

The board of directors also discussed a City of Bend program to support development and redevelopment goals in Bend’s core and transit-oriented areas that meet certain public benefit requirements for a 10-year multiple unit property tax exemption. Property tax exemptions must be supported by a combined 51-percent of the taxing districts. The Bend City Council can approve the tax exemption via resolution subsequent to sufficient taxing district support.

Based upon review of applicable Oregon Revised Statute (ORS), the city recently requested taxing districts to adopt resolutions in support of the program in totality, and not review each individual project. The program impacts on the district’s finances is ultimately undetermined since it depends upon the location and quantity of MUPTE applications received by the city. A net increase in district property taxes should occur at the end of each 10-year tax abatement.

Based on the discussion, staff will return to a future meeting with a resolution for consideration of adoption.

The next board meeting is Sept. 19.