Since it's still evident that business owners and their employees like to park close to their businesses in the downtown area - using spaces that paying customers could utilize - I think I have some possible solutions. The old Mt. Bachelor lot on Simpson and Colorado is abandoned, so I would suggest that any customers wanting to eat, shop or avail themselves of service businesses in downtown Bend park in the old Mt. Bachelor lot and be bussed to downtown Bend via a shuttle (Bend Area Transit bus).Another alternative would be for customers to park in an Old Mill District lot and be shuttled downtown. The City of Bend would actually pay rent to Bill Smith, developer of the Old Mill District, on a monthly basis and that cost would be "eaten" by the City.
A third possibility would be the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, where there is abundant parking available and customers could be bussed in by a shuttle. The shuttle rides would be free or the customers could be charged for the ride downtown.
We certainly wouldn't want to charge downtown business owners for these expenses. The proposed solutions would open up all the downtown spots for business owners and their employees. I would propose that the parking spots would be offered at no cost to the downtown business owners or their employees - just a nice perk for them, subsidized by the City of Bend, which has ample financial resources.
- Richard Gorman, Bend