By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
McKay Park is a hot spot along the Deschutes river for tubers, surfers and, more recently, campers setting up shop on the roads nearby.
But parking spots were being taken up for long periods by tourists – sometimes for days.
“We just had some long-term individuals staying here and not necessarily being nice to the area,” Structure Development, Interior Developer Maricass Cerny said.
Cerny has worked near the park for Structure Development for eight years.
She saw the problem firsthand.
“A little bit of littering and harder to find parking at that time,” Cerny said.
The City of Bend launched a pilot program in 2019 to limit parking in the area.
“What if we do some timed limited parking for four hours,” Parking Services Divisions Manager of Bend, Tobias Marx said. “It should give people enough time to park here.”
The change was immediate.
“It made a difference right away in that first summer,” Marx added. “With the signs that were installed, people followed them.”
On Wednesday night city councilors will consider making that change permanent.
The goal will be to help the overall parking situation in the area, not just eliminate overnight camping.
Local and frequent surfer Malcolm Major knows how busy the park gets in the summer.
“There could be a super long line with a bunch of people waiting and especially here, there is a lot of tubers,” Major said. “The whole park is just completely full.”
“I think it is a good system,” Major added. “It kind of cycles people in and out so other people can enjoy the park and I think that is definitely special.”
The pilot program also helps surrounding businesses’.
“It is beneficial in the summer because our clients can pull up in front of the building and it is easy for them to find us,” Cerny said.