Earlier this summer the Bend Park & Recreation District (BPRD) held a Grand Opening for their newest park (Alpenglow Community Park) located in Bend, Oregon. The park sits on 37-acres in southeast Bend at the intersection of SE 15th Street and Murphy Road. Alpenglow Park is the final project to be completed of those that received funding from BPRD’s $29M Bond Measure 9-86, that was approved by Bend voters in November 2012. Other transformative BPRD projects that made use of 9-86 Bond funds include:
As a long-time Bend resident, Measure 9-86 proponent, and President of a geotechnical engineering and construction services firm (The Wallace Group, Inc.) who had a role in the design and construction of several of these bond projects, it is very gratifying to see them come to fruition and to witness the thousands of residents, children (many not even born in 2012), and visitors gathering to float, swim, picnic, skate, curl, hike, bike, splash, play, and recreate in facilities made possible a decade ago by voters’ willingness to invest tax dollars in the community. As anyone who has traveled around Bend recently or registered for on-line programs can attest, BPRD facilities and programs are extremely popular and heavily used, many to capacity. Based upon recent census data, Bend’s population reportedly increased by over 22,000 people between 2010 and 2020. It’s hard to imagine where our community and guests would be gathering to recreate if these projects were never built.
Projects like Alpenglow Park don’t happen by accident and require dedicated community leaders with vision, passion, determination, and effective messaging skills to make them a reality. That is especially true for small cities like Bend where quality of life combined with a diverse, healthy economy is expected to continue the growth curve with an increase in population of 56,000 over the next 25 years (over 50 percent of the current population). This growth will continue to challenge not only the region’s recreational facilities, but also the supply of workforce housing, childcare, transportation, sewer, electrical infrastructure, water resources, and educational systems. Historically, Bend voters have generally supported taxes for community investments such as parks, schools, and infrastructure; however, in order maintain the services and quality of life most of us moved here for in the first place, on-going support will be imperative.
With each election cycle voters are inundated with campaign ads aimed to espouse bills, ballot measures, and candidates to win votes. Political campaigns are good at raising the issue(s) but are no substitute for an electorate that spends time to educate themselves on the issues and make informed decisions on what/whom to support or oppose, based on their beliefs, not media spin.
There are a variety of ways to get, and stay informed, through local public meetings, candidate forums, community outreach organizations, business groups, print media, broadcast news, and the internet. Regardless of the source, take some time to be informed about the issues that matter to you, vote, and take an active role in helping determine what Bend, and our country’s future will look like.