River’s Edge Golf Course owner Wayne Purcell announced Tuesday he will retire and sell the Bend course and surrounding lands to Pahlisch Homes, which is in the early planning stages for a 372-home development on the property.
“With great intention, our family has chosen Pahlisch Homes as the best fit as the next generation of stewards of the property.” Purcell said in a statement. “The course will continue to operate as usual throughout the season.”
Purcell said he decided to offer the land to Pahlisch after it learned of its plans for the property, which is currently zoned as “Standard Density Residential” under the City of Bend’s comprehensive plan.
He said while many courses across the country are closing and being sold to high-density housing developments, he wanted to avoid that future for the River’s Edge property.
He said the project would also facilitate the completion of a missing link of the Deschutes River Trail and allow for water currently in use by the golf course to return to the Deschutes River.
“There isn’t another developer in the city, state or country that values a good outcome for River’s Edge and the surrounding lands more than our team,” Pahlisch said. “Bend is changing. We see our role as a partner in creating the best outcomes for our city as we face the future. That means prioritizing open space, attainable housing and contributing to the protection of natural resources such as the Deschutes River.”
According to the River’s Edge Golf Course website, it was designed in two phases beginning in 1987 by Robert Muir Graves.
The 9-hole course expanded to 18 holes in 1992.
Its central location in Bend and relatively affordable rates made it a popular golf course for locals and visitors for years.
There are dozens of homes currently alongside parts of the golf course, and some of the residents weren’t too happy with the news their fairway views could soon be gone.
“I probably wouldn’t have bought here if I would have known that this is what it was going to grow in to,” said Debi Kite, who lives on the 9th hole.
Jim Heck said he just refinanced his house overlooking the 5th fairway so he plans to be there a few more years.
“Had I known this was happening, I probably wouldn’t have refinanced.”
The first community input meeting will be held later this spring. Pahlisch anticipates an online community survey and a second community meeting this summer.
“We encourage folks to visit our website and sign up for community meetings, information alerts, or ask us a question directly through the site,” said Pahlisch. “We’re excited to partner with the community on the future of River’s Edge.”
Please visit www.futureofriversedge.com for more information.
Central Oregon Daily’s Steele Haugen reports.