We have been closely following the plan by the Bend Park & Recreation District to build a bridge over the First Street Rapids. Recently we reviewed the district’s construction plan that went out for bid, and we believe it is a significant departure from what the district presented in July and what the Planning Commission conditionally approved in August.

The updated plan includes a much longer bridge, with an added “bridge to the bridge,” four massive concrete abutments to support the 10-foot-wide “walking bridge,” and a complicated crane deployment scheme that will permanently scar the landscape on both sides of the river.

The Planning Commission’s approval was based on the plans submitted and states, “Any substantial alteration of the approved plans ... will require a new application.” Clearly, the commission should require a new application for the bridge project.

Better yet, given that the district is asking the community to donate $3.5 million in addition to the voter-approved $29 million bond, we suggest the district board pull the plug on the First Street Rapids bridge and redirect the $500,000 earmarked for this white elephant toward the community fund to complete the other projects.

Friends of First Street Rapids

Bill Marlett, chair, and Tom Comerford, vice chair