Summer safety education by park district and law enforcement on June 5

June 3, 2024

As temperatures heat up and residents and visitors head to parks and the river, public safety staff members are teaming up to educate community members about summer safety to set a positive tone for the season.

Bend Park and Recreation District park stewards, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Deputies and City of Bend Police Department Community Service Officers will join efforts on Wednesday, June 5, at Riverbend Park to educate park and river users about rules and safety practices.

This multi-agency effort is aimed at education and providing information. Two areas of increased concern relate to alcohol consumption and bridge jumping.

“The summer season is busy with activity in parks, on trails, especially near the Deschutes River,” said Jeff Hagler, park steward manager. “This collaboration is an opportunity to inform community members about park rules and expectations and encourage safer enjoyment of the season.”

Each member of BPRD’s park steward team walks an average of five to 10 miles per day in the summer, primarily monitoring activity in parks, educating park users about rules and encouraging voluntary compliance of rules. The small team also works with contracted security and law enforcement when necessary. Similarly, City of Bend Police Department’s Community Service Officers engage with community members regularly for a variety of community safety needs.

“We ask our community to work together to keep parks a safe and welcoming space for everyone. Please remember that in addition to being illegal, it’s really dangerous to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car or on a bike. Make arrangements to ensure that your fun summer plans don’t put yourself and others at risk,” said Sheila Miller, Bend Police Communications Manager.

Alcohol prohibited

BPRD park rules state that no person shall possess or consume alcohol on BPRD property without a permit. An advanced permit may be granted if a requestor is 21 years of age or older, provides insurance coverage documentation, requests a specific location, date and time for the consumption, and it doesn’t negatively impact the public’s ability to access the park. In summer 2023, park stewards documented 237 instances of contacting with individuals due to alcohol.

“Parks are public property and we ask for compliance. If we observe un-permitted consumption of alcohol, we will ask for it to be disposed of or for violators to vacate the park,” said Hagler.

Consequences of consuming alcohol in a park may include exclusion from all park property for 30 days or longer. Citations and arrests are also possible from City of Bend Police Department.

Alcohol use is also prohibited on the Deschutes River. If caught drinking on the river, one could receive a citation and fine. Floating, paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking require river users to stay alert and clear-minded to navigate and swim if needed.

“We are fortunate to have river recreation in the heart of our community, and our goal is to make that experience safe and enjoyable for everyone,” said Lieutenant Ty Rupert, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Unit. “River currents require active attention and safety for all users, and our team is collaborating with BPRD on education efforts this summer.”

Bridge jumping

Bridge jumping is prohibited on BPRD and City of Bend properties and community members are strongly encouraged to refrain from the illegal activity.

“Bridge jumping can have serious consequences, including death and severe injury,” said Hagler. “Bend’s logging past is just below the surface of the Deschutes River as well as jagged lava rocks. A hazard that wasn’t there yesterday could be there today, so we encourage everyone to stick to other ways of recreating.”

Park exclusions and citations may be issued for bridge jumping.

Learn more about park rules on BPRD’s website.