Deschutes County Commissioners have decided to move forward on a $2.5 million project, redeveloping Worrell Park and adding additional parking near the county services building.
Commissioner Phil Chang says construction will likely begin within six months to a year.
“The county is working on a major courthouse expansion project, so that we can better deliver justice services to our growing community,” Chang said. “As part of that, we need additional parking spaces.”
Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell, however, is skeptical about the plan and has asked commissioners several questions about the project.
“My concern is that the county commission simply has not done the work to determine how much parking they even need,” Campbell said. “The opposite concern is that they don’t even need any more parking at all. COVID means that so many people are working from home, and many of those people are never going back.”
The 30 year Bend resident calls Worrell Park a “precious piece of property” that should remain intact, and adds that commissioners should explore the option of a parking structure with housing on top.
The redevelopment will add about 68 additional parking spots to the area near Wall Street and Lafayette Avenue.
Another option was a five story parking structure off Harriman Street, but that did not get the green light from County Commissioners.
“For $7.5 million to $8 million,” Chang said. “I don’t think that project is right, in my opinion.”
Chang says the project does more than add more parking, it creates a functional outdoor space for Bend.
“Lawn areas, benches, tables, more of a courtyard kind of feel,” Chang said. “You could host music events, farmers markets.”
A decision adapting to an ever-changing Bend.
“Better meets the needs of a growing urban population,” Chang said. “And a growing county population.”