▶️ Apartments to displace popular parking lot for river floaters, park users

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A parking lot across from Riverbend Park has proved to be an extremely popular and convenient place to park before floating the Deschutes River.

However, it was a solution for the crowded summer months that was never meant to be permanent.

“Over the last several years we have made some partnerships and agreements for use of some parking lot options that are not owned by the Park and Recreation District,” Julie Brown, Bend Park and Recreation District communications and community relations manager said. “But we also anticipated that those were always going to be temporary options.”

The empty lot on the corner of Columbia Street and Shevlin Hixon Drive, previously owned by Deschutes Brewery, will go from holding hundreds of cars to hundreds of tenants.

Construction on an apartment complex could start as early as next year.

“The property where that parking is, basically that gravel dirt area, is a privately owned property that is zoned for development,” Russell Grayson, City of Bend community development director said. “Now there is a property owner and a developer that wants to come in and develop that property.”

Although this was never intended to be a long-term option, it will be a large space lost and no other parking options are planned to replace it.

“There’s no funding for any type of parking facility anywhere in that area that the city is involve in at this point,” Grayson said.

Once the lot is gone, Bend Park and Rec recommends carpooling and taking advantage of its Ride the River shuttle further up the street on Bradbury Drive.

“The Ride the River shuttle starts and stops at that location, as well as there are river tube rentals up there,” Brown said. “So it really is a very easy location for people to kind of start and end their river day at that location.”

The project still needs to wind its way through permitting before construction can begin.

Your parking situation is safe for this summer, but the next could require some additional planning.

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