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Envision Bend asks: If we can’t move the railroad tracks east out of town, how about the two switchyards?

The southern Bend railroad switchyard, viewed looking north from the Murphy Road bridge.
Envision Bend
The southern Bend railroad switchyard, viewed looking north from the Murphy Road bridge.

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Since the release of the five-year Vision Action Plan, Envision Bend has been working to bring the 28 strategies listed in the plan to life. One of the most challenging projects is titled ‘Railroad Safety & Redevelopment’ This is labeled as the ‘Game Changer’ strategy in the Guiding our Growth & Development section of the plan.

In the 17 months of outreach, Envision Bend heard many community comments to ‘move the railroad’ outside of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The leading reasons stated were increased traffic and public safety, according to the group's news release Friday, which continues in full below.

“As a member of a Vision Action Team that helped create the (vision) plan, we looked at this community concern and knew that if we moved the railroad east, it would become a future Bend problem," said James Dorofi, Envision Bend board member and chair of the Old Farm District Neighborhood Association.

"So we said, ‘What about moving the switchyards outside of town?'"

There are two switchyards in Bend's UGB — south and central. The south switchyard from Murphy Road runs north nearly a mile to Reed Market Road. The central switchyard extends nearly two miles from where it crosses Third Street up along Highway 97 to Butler Market Road.

Moving the BNSF Railway's south and central switchyards would require state and federal-level action, the group noted.

With limited land in the Bend UGB and large connectivity challenges, finding a creative solution that matches the needs of our community today and in the coming decades is vital to help us manage our growth. How can public safety and traffic concerns be turned into a community resource to increase safety, connectivity, public art, and commerce?

Join Envision Bend and lead partners on Thursday, June 27th for an exciting conversation on the ‘Railroad Safety and Redevelopment’ vision strategy. Meet at Bevel Craft Brewing (911 SE Armour Rd) from 4:30-6:00 p.m. to learn more, share your feedback, and join the conversation. It's free and family-friendly!

Kindly register for the event at

Read the complete Railroad Vision Strategy and Implementation steps online at Envision Bend is a nonpartisan, community nonprofit organization. Its mission is to bring diverse stakeholders together to educate, engage, and empower all members of the Bend community to have a voice in our community’s future.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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