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Side Notes: Local News Roundup

Free shuttle launches in Bend, Bikeshare expands, public info on canals and more



Shuttle Launching in Bend; Bikeshare Program Expands

A summer shuttle program for central Bend starts June 23. The "Ride Bend" shuttle is a pilot program aimed at providing visitors and residents another way to connect between downtown Bend, the Old Mill District, OSU-Cascades, Galveston Avenue., Century Drive. and other popular spots in the city. The free service, offered through a partnership between Visit Bend, the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and the City of Bend, offers rides every 15 minutes between 2pm and 10pm, seven days a week, through Labor Day.

"Ride Bend will be simple and convenient for visitors and locals who want to get around this great city's core areas without getting in their cars this summer," said Bend Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell. "It will also demonstrate how public transportation can help alleviate traffic and parking congestion, which our community has expressed concerns about as Bend grows."

The Dial-A-Ride service is available to riders with ADA considerations who are unable to use the fixed route option. Routes and schedules are forthcoming on the CET website,, and at

Meanwhile, the bikeshare program launched at the OSU-Cascades campus has expanded to downtown Bend. Bikes offered by Zagster have been available on the campus since late 2016. Now, a new kiosk at the corner of Bond Street. and Franklin Avenue. offers even more bikes for rent by the hour. More kiosks are slated for construction in the coming weeks.

Canal Piping Up For Public Input

A plan to develop a Central Oregon watershed plan aimed at conserving water, reducing energy waste, improving safety and increasing fish and wildlife habitat is up for public input this July. The plan would see many of Central Oregon's canals be converted to more efficient piping mechanisms. Central Oregon irrigators, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC) and the Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA) are holding three public open houses for community members and stakeholders.

"Developing these comprehensive watershed plans is the next step to advance the region's irrigation modernization efforts on a landscape-scale, while providing an opportunity to leverage additional federal funding sources to accomplish work on-the-ground,' said Tom Makowski, assistant state Conservationist for Watershed Resources and Planning for NRCS Oregon.

NRCS, in partnership with the FCA and the DBBC, will use the public input to develop a draft watershed plan which will be used to apply for federal funding through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program. 

Open Houses:

Tumalo Irrigation: July 6, 5:30 to 6:30 pm at Tumalo Community Church Meeting Room, 64671 Bruce Ave, Bend.

Swalley Irrigation: July 6, 6:30 to 7:30 pm. At Tumalo Community Church Meeting Room, 64671 Bruce Ave, Bend. 

Central Oregon Irrigation: July 10, 5:30 to 7 pm. Redmond Grange, 3152 SW Metolius Pl, Redmond. 

Public not able to attend, can also submit comments between July 7 to July 20 at (Tumalo), (Swalley) and (Central Oregon).

Sage-Grouse Plan Under Review

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has issued an order to review the plans for managing the greater sage-grouse on public lands. That's following years of work by Western governors and other wildlife advocates who developed a bipartisan conservation plan for the bird.

In 2015, the Obama administration rolled out a plan for conserving the habitat of the greater sage-grouse, which would have helped keep the bird off the Endangered Species list. If listed under the Endangered Species Act, development would have been stalled on many public lands, and numerous lawsuits from both sides may have ensued. The 2015 plan allowed for the development of oil and gas infrastructure on lands that are not sage-grouse habitat.

"Secretary Zinke's order undermines years of bipartisan collaboration to conserve the greater sage-grouse. It is a slap in the face to Western communities, coalitions, wildlife managers, private landowners, industry groups, and governors in both parties - all who diligently worked to find common ground and a workable solution to prevent the bird from landing on the endangered species list," commented Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project.

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