It was Friday night at the new Ridgeview High School in Redmond and the excited crowd watched the football team overwhelm the opposing team in their first game. The weather was perfect for the game and a “blue” moon was emerging.
It would have been even better had the crowd of fans, noise and congestion from the traffic been located in a more urban setting. Unfortunately, Ridgeview was constructed along the edge of a rural environment. Wheel lines irrigate green pastures within a quarter of a mile of the school. Roads have been widened and sidewalks constructed in anticipation of the traffic that will be generated by the school.
The school is sure to attract development interests who will want to convert the area into urban style subdivisions. It won’t be long before authorities are looking further south for a site for an elementary school. What has been a pastoral setting providing a green belt between Bend and Redmond has been compromised. I feel sorry for the citizens who chose a rural environment in which to live and farm and find themselves having to cope with the traffic created by a new high school. Understandably, many will probably decide to cash in when land values appreciate with up zoning.
Given the pro development attitude of political officials in Deschutes County, development pressure on the owners of farms will only intensify and I predict that in 20 years the green space between Bend and Redmond will only be a memory. Where is land use planning when you need it?