Bend Parks & Rec Bond 9-86 proposes many fine recreational opportunities that are “nice-to-have” but in this economy, and with critical water, sewerage and school obligations, not essential for Bend. I recommend that Bend citizens vote against the bill. Alternatively, BPRD should then reprioritize, redefine some projects and then resubmit the bond as a set of smaller proposals that will allow voters a fair evaluation of each project.For example, the proposed purchase of three properties in the North Deschutes Canyon, adjacent to BPRD- owned Gopher Gulch, includes the 28-acre “Jeffers property.” For approximately $3.5 million, BPRD plans to purchase this charming house and barn on acreage with a great view of the canyon. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to simply purchase a right of way in which to cross the river and extend the DR trail?
The purchase of two other properties in the area of comparable size is also proposed. Is a nature reserve or park needed there? Unlike the majority of beautiful parks in Bend, to which most families can walk, this area is far from the population center. Is there any unique natural area there that is not already found in nearby Tumalo Park, the High Desert Museum or National Forest land?
The proposed ice rink is also a “nice-to-have,” but at what cost? There is a balance point here—why should all Bend voters pay for a small population of skaters on prime real estate in an area that is still under consideration for the proposed university extension?
Vote against BPRD 9-86. BPRD, reprioritize and resubmit to voters.
—David C. White