Since the Old Bend Neighborhood Association reorganized in 2011 we have had two General meetings and several special meetings to address issues of concern. In November we had a very well-attended and successful Q&A with City Counselors Doug Knight and Sally Russell, and Bend City Transportation Engineer Manager Nick Arnis.
Thanks to the skills of Spencer Dahl, who developed our website, we have focused on building membership through Facebook and subscriber newsletters. Board member Dyan Roth has designed a new brochure/door hanger to promote the association and encourage membership. It also includes info on noxious weeds and snow removal.
An issue of importance was the reconfiguring of the Tumalo Riverside Intersection. Residents were concerned about the safety of the design, speeding cars, and the impact on access and egress. The OBNA Board is quite disappointed that the high profile raised intersection was eliminated from the design due to concerns about closing the intersection during construction. This was a strong negotiation point for the board. Cars do not slow down moving through this intersection and we have witnessed cars traveling on Riverside veering into the bike lanes.On a positive note, residents and other walkers are very happy with the new crosswalk at Riverfront Street.
We understand that Bend Parks and Recreation District has hired a consultant to research the possibility of a (living street) Pedestrian Designated corridor on Riverfront leading to Miller’s Landing and Gilchrist Bridge. An informal survey of residents living on Riverfront indicated that the majority would favor this.
The neighborhood looks forward to the completion of Miller’s landing. The Old Bend Neighborhood Association has adopted the park. Board member Bob Almquist, who lives next door to the park, is the lead on this. We hope that it will become a place for neighborhood gatherings.
Mirror Pond is a citywide issue, but of special significance to those living close by. While the pond and dam are often mentioned, the section of river between Galveston Street and the Columbia footbridge has been neglected. The residents along this section of river have been significantly impacted by the change in flow and silting. OBNA would encourage that the residents along this section of the river be considered in any solution. Unlike the city councilors, we find that our neighborhood is not nearly as supportive of maintaining Mirror Pond in its present form. Our association, and our neighborhood, which abuts Mirror Pond, seems quite divided on what would be the best direction to proceed concerning the future of the Deschutes River within the city limits of Bend
The 2012 Presentation from the Market of Choice and Colorado Annex was well attended by residents. Major concerns were cut-thru traffic, safe pedestrian crossing on Colorado, and impact from commercial lighting and noise. Some were not thrilled by the idea of a fast food restaurant so close to a residential area. We understand MOC is on hold for the moment but must move forward by 2014 or reapply for permits, etc.
The issue of cut-thru traffic in the Old Town neighborhood is of significant concern. Recently an “info” sign directing traffic from Colorado to turn right on Sizemore toward Franklin was erected. We are currently discussing this with city staff. Tourists should be directed to Bond Street from Colorado, not through a residential area.
The growing number of vacation rentals within the neighborhood is a concern of some. While vacation rentals often tend to be better maintained than long-term rentals, there is a feeling that we are losing community by not knowing our neighbors.
Old Bend has several commercial food establishments within the residential neighborhood. We feel fortunate to have such establishments within walking distance but have received comments from residents that businesses so near residences should be smoke free outdoor as well as indoor; however, as there is no specific ordinance to address this the best we can do is encourage businesses in the Neighborhood Commercial Zone to become smoke free zones.
An ongoing challenge for OBNA is that with only 811 tax lots, of which a number are vacation rentals, we have a very small pool of volunteers to serve on the board and committees. We have casually discussed the possibility of merging with another neighborhood association so we could increase the pool of volunteers.
We thank the Council and Staff for their continued support.