By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The Bend and Redmond park districts were set to open some sports courts Thursday–things like pickleball and tennis–until late this afternoon when both agencies changed their minds, or had their minds changed for them.
Just hours after delighting many eager to return to the courts, Bend parks issued a correction and said the sport court reopening was on hold due to a difference in interpretation of the statewide outdoor recreation guidelines. A few hours after that, Redmond followed suit.
“The City of Redmond was informed this evening that the opening of tennis and pickleball courts must be postponed until further guidance is given by state agencies,” officials said in a statement. “We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to receiving clarity on when we can resume use of the courts.”
In the interim, we talked to Bend Pickleball Club President Bill Brown. He had already informed the club’s 700 members that the pickleball courts at Pine Nursery Park were opening Thursday.
“These courts are going to be staggered so one might start at 7, another one 7:30. People are not coming off the courts at the same time. They’ll go for two hours. People stay and play with themselves. They aren’t going to be moving back and forth between courts. They’re not going to be switching sides. There’s not going to be any handshakes or fist bumps. We are trying to keep people safe and distanced.”
Bend park maintenance crews began working to prepare sports courts for a Thursday reopening.
But now, the reopening timeline is on hold until differences between the park districts and the governor’s office can be resolved.
“I haven’t played for two months. That’s an eternity for a severe enthusiast like myself, addict to others. Yes. We all are pretty darned excited being able to get out here,” Brown said.
Bend Parks and Recreation Communications Manager Julie Brown said details on reopening the courts should follow in the coming days.