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Bend river trail upgrades likely to advance, despite bump in road

Tree removal plans prompt questions; boardwalk planned by Mirror Pond

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Changes and improvements could be on the way soon to the trail along the Deschutes River in Bend.

The Bend Park and Recreation District is working with the city to create an extension to the Deschutes River Trail.

The project, which is expected to cost more than $6 million and is fully funded by the park district, would create improved trails along the river, from Galveston Avenue to Portland Avenue.

The project includes new paved trails and a boardwalk along the Mirror Pond area, with new lighting as well.

Brian Hudspeth, the park district's development manager, said the boardwalk concept creates less of an impact on the area than a paved trail.

"The boardwalk allowed us to just strategically place pilings where we have to have them," Hudspeth said. "They're small and thin, and they don't have much impact on the environment. And we can put that boardwalk in and do that without destroying the environment, and that's the primary reason for doing the boardwalk."

At Monday night's meeting, the planning commission voted to continue the public hearing over concerns about the number of trees (about three dozen) that are slated to be removed during the trail upgrades.

But even with that delay, Hudspeth said he's hopeful the project will stay on track, as they still plan to start construction in the fall.

Bend Senior Planner Aaron Henson said the project will greatly improve the trail system along the river.

"This is going to open up an area below the Mirror Pond parking lot, the Pine Tavern and Bend Brewing Company and bring a trail through an area that has kind of gone off limits from the public," Henson said. "Especially the undercrossing at Newport (Avenue) Bridge -- that's going to make a nice extension of this river trail that will make it easier to use and enjoy."

The commissioners appeared to be in favor of the project, but wanted to make sure the impacts of removing trees are as minimal as possible.

The proposal will once again be in front of them on Feb. 10.

The plan is still to move forward with starting construction in the fall, and the hope is to have the project completed in eight months, by next summer.

For more details and maps, visit: https://www.bendparksandrec.org/project/drake-park-project/

Bend / Central Oregon / Government-politics / Top Stories

Jacob Larsen

Jacob Larsen is a reporter and weather anchor for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jacob here.

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