A front-page January article in the Bend Bulletin discussed two proposals for a footbridge to be constructed below the First Street Rapids as an important connection in Bend's Deschutes River Trail system.
Planning proponents have provided two options called Alternative A and Alternative B. They have characterized B as a "much better place" to build a footbridge, and although it would be cheaper than A, assure us, the public, that money has nothing to do with their choice of B.
Anyone who frequents this area of the Deschutes River knows this characterization is simply untrue. First, there are many places in the area where a footbridge could be constructed. Secondly, the choice of Alternative B could not be more disruptive to nature or people.
The proposed B site is in the middle of one of the few natural areas of free-flowing river remaining in Bend. It would impact more neighboring residences than numerous other options, such as alternative A. Since public figures are quite capable of deception, I don't believe we should trust them on this.
Proposed site B would destroy this scarce natural area with a manmade intrusion. And wherever man travels, his garbage follows right behind. On the east bank of the river where proposed Bridge B would be constructed, there are beautiful boulders placed eons ago by Mother Nature as well as old growth Ponderosa Pines.
The sound of the rushing Deschutes River is rare in Bend, but this is one of the few spots where one can sit and enjoy Mother Nature's aquatic symphony.
The Deschutes River is Bend's crown jewel and should be treated with reverence, but it is often treated by locals as a glorified irrigation ditch. Before you support any footbridge proposal, you should visit this area for yourself and experience its uniqueness.
As a nature lover, a Deschutes River lover and a longtime resident of Bend, I can truly say that Alternative B is a "wrong choice" for the proposed footbridge.
Editor's note: Parks officials opted to move forward with option B (2) at their January 3 meeting. Construction cost is estimated to be between $430,000 and $575,000. The district has $500,000 set aside for the project, which could begin as soon as this summer.