Jane Williamson has lived in her home on the corner of Bend’s Harmon Boulevard and Nashville Avenue for over 40 years.
Williamson says she expects construction in this part of Bend, but became upset when her street was disturbed in ways she didn’t anticipate.
“I wasn’t told anything more other than they were going to put a planter there, where they are just going to tear out my gorgeous flowers I’ve worked for 20 years on,” Williamson said. “They needed to communicate what they were doing.”
Williamson says she feels blindsided, and isn’t the only neighbor frustrated with the City of Bend.
Catherine Cummings wasn’t aware multiple trees would be removed from the street Thursday.
“Welcome to Earth Day,” Cummings said. “Earth Day was yesterday and they pulled out 10 beautiful shade trees over here that line Kenwood, and last week they pulled out four flowering fruit trees. So that was a red flag.”
It’s all part of the Newport Corridor Improvements Project.
Project engineer Drew Wells says the main goal on Nashville Avenue is to reduce the amount of water that flows down the road and into the Deschutes River.
“We’re replacing the storm drain line all the way from College Way down Newport to 9th Street here at this roundabout, and then coming down to Nashville where it discharges at the river,” Wells said. “While we’re doing that, we’re also replacing the water and sewer infrastructure, pretty much anything that’s in the road.”
Wells says while an effort was made, COVID made outreach difficult.
For example, instead of physical open houses to present projects, virtual ones had to be held instead.
“I mean there’s so many ways to socially, digitally connect with the neighbors,” Cummings said. “It would just be really helpful.”
“They should’ve had me in from the very beginning on the plans on what they were doing,” Williamson said. “If they had done that, this brouhaha wouldn’t have happened.”
Both Williamson and Cummings say they’re fine with the storm drain project, it’s the lack of communication they’re disappointed with.
The construction will likely take around four to five months.