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Bend PD offers summer water safety rules, reminders


The weather is warming up and the city parks and the Deschutes River are starting to be used more regularly. It is a great benefit to live in Bend where we as a community have access to so many different recreational opportunities.

We have numerous people whom use the parks and numerous people on the river. A large responsibility comes with such freedom. It is every individual’s responsibility to abide by the park rules, city ordinances and state laws to ensure the safety of our community. The rules and laws are in place to help ensure we can all safely enjoy the environment and culture we have come to appreciate and share in Bend.

Here are some of the city ordinances that apply to the parks and waterways to ensure everyone’s safety. The list is not all inclusive and the city ordinances in their entirety are located on the City of Bend website for your convenience at:

5.15.005 Drinking on Unlicensed Premises

(2) Except when authorized by the Bend Metropolitan Park and Recreation
District, no person shall drink, or be in possession of an open container of
alcoholic beverages in a park under the control of Bend Metro Park and
Recreation District without having first obtained an alcohol consumption
permit referenced in Chapter 5.55.

5.15.010 Prohibition of Possession or Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages on or in the Deschutes River

(1) No person may possess or consume any alcoholic beverage while on or in the Deschutes River within the city limits of Bend. This prohibition applies
to both open and closed containers of alcoholic beverages but does not
apply to persons crossing the river on a bridge.

5.35.000 Diving and Ice Skating on Deschutes River

(1) No person shall operate a motor propelled boat on the Deschutes River
within the limits of the City of Bend.
(2) Diving, jumping, or otherwise launching oneself or any other person or
object off a bridge into a river or canal is prohibited. This prohibition does
not apply to normal fishing activities.
(3) Ice skating on the Deschutes River is prohibited.

5.20.025 Animal at Large

No animal other than a domestic cat shall run at large.
The owner or keeper of an animal is responsible for an animal at large.

5.20.030 Off Leash Areas

(1) The Bend City Council may, in its discretion, designate certain areas of
public parks which are owned and operated by the Bend Metropolitan
Parks and Recreation District (BMPRD) as areas where dogs are not
required to be leashed, subject to the other provisions of this section.

It is also important to know and be familiar with that state laws and requirements regarding life jackets. Per the Oregon State Marine Board, “All children age 12 and under must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while on an open deck or cockpit on boats that are underway or when being towed. This includes sailboats, canoes, kayaks and rafts.” Paddleboards are also included in this category. “All boats must carry at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved, personal flotation device (PFD) for every person aboard, that properly fits the intended wearer. Such devices must be in serviceable condition. They must not have any rips, tears, or broken straps. All devices must also be kept readily accessible for use in an emergency situation. Personal flotation devices in a plastic bag or in a storage compartment are not readily accessible.” Please refer to the Oregon State Marine Board website for specific types of life jackets required. We recommend that all people using the river wear an approved personal flotation device at all times.

In addition to the above mentioned city ordinances and state laws, it is extremely important that people utilizing the river for recreation are aware of the spillways and the appropriate take outs. First, it is always important to be knowledgeable about the river you are on and be aware the inherent dangers of any river, such as very cold water temperatures, strong currents, concealed rocks, undertows and any other hazards. Each person should walk on the bank of the river and learn the flow of the river, the terrain, the rapids, exposed or hidden boulders, the exact take out areas, and any other useful information. Each person should be aware of the dangers beyond the take outs and why it is important to not miss those take outs. Those dangers may include waterfalls, spillways, dams, rapids, no more accessible take outs or other hazards. Each person should also take into consideration their own abilities and stay within those abilities at all times.

As your local police department, we are committed to the safety of our citizens. We are able to best accomplish that through working collaboratively and cooperatively with our community partners, to include other agencies, local business, organizations and each of our citizens as individuals. A large part of that relationship is information sharing. We rely on information coming from all of our partners so we can serve the community in the best way possible. Emergency calls are our first priority of course. However, we rely heavily on additional information regarding safety concerns, non-emergency calls and reports of other illegal activity. Please report violations and crimes observed on the waterways and in our parks so we can respond and help to be a part of a positive outcome.

We also want to be proactive in our community. As this relates to the Deschutes River and the parks, through our partnership with the Bend Parks and Recreation District we are focusing resources in those areas as we move into summer. Our goal is public safety and we need everyone’s help and cooperation in obtaining that goal. We hope to accomplish this through good communication, education, and enforcement as necessary.

Thank you all for you efforts in helping make this summer a safe and fun time for all.

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