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Community partners chip in to expand Bend transit service


The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council announced a partnership Friday that once approved by the agency’s board, with final input from community members, would add $3.4 million over the next three years for Bend fixed-routes.

The partners — the city of Bend, St. Charles Health System, OSU-Cascades, COCC, Deschutes County, Bend Chamber of Commerce, Bend MPO, and Bend Parks and Rec — have coordinated a short-term plan that would better meet community needs with more robust transit service in Bend.

The proposed Bend Transit Expansion would be a dramatic increase in service improving transit in Bend and the region. Proposed service would expand operation hours to 8 PM, add three new routes, and increase bus frequency. Additionally, access would be improved to the Bend medical district, the proposed OSU-Cascades Campus, and COCC.

Co-chaired by Amy Tykeson, former CEO of BendBroadband, and Tammy Baney, Deschutes County commissioner, the partners began meeting at the end of 2014 and were guided by the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization’s “Public Transit Plan and Transit Corridor Land Use Assessment.”

Elements of the plan contain technical analysis identifying future improvements for Bend transit, as well as a desired set of improvements prioritized by the community members who participated in a series of public outreach meetings over 2012.

In lieu of dedicated funding available for expanding transit service in Bend, the partnership collaborated on a budget and funding commitments to implement improvements.

“The partnership from the City of Bend, St. Charles Health System, OSU-Cascades, and COCC illustrates exceptional leadership and collaboration among these agencies,” said COIC Executive Director Andrew Spreadborough.

“The commitment to provide transportation options for the people of Bend by the agencies of Bend is truly unique in our history. The proposed Bend Transit Expansion is just the first step toward the frequency and quality of transit service we envision for Central Oregon,” he added.

The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council was designated a Council of Governments in 1972 under ORS 190. COIC provides service to the counties of Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson as well as to the cities of Bend, Culver, La Pine, Madras, Metolius, Prineville, Redmond, and Sisters.

Cascades East Transit, operated by COIC, runs a fixed-route service in Bend, community connector shuttles, and general public Dial-A-Ride services in Redmond, La Pine, Prineville, Sisters, and Madras. Cascades East Transit is the largest transit provider in the state of Oregon without dedicated local funding.

NewsChannel 21’s Lauren Martinez attended Friday’s announcement and will have more details on NewsChannel 21 First at Ten on Fox.

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