Editorial: Bend Chamber's tardy entry into water debate


No one disputes that Bend’s Bridge Creek surface water project is controversial, with at least some opponents saying it should be scrapped. We don’t buy into that idea, nor do we buy into the companion notion that the public somehow has been left out of the discussion.

Thus it was a surprise to discover that Tim Casey, who runs the Bend Chamber of Commerce, has decided at this late date to ask his board of directors to approve of — and pay for — yet another study of the project. It considered a similar proposal just about a year ago and decided not to go forward.

What’s changed? Not much, so far as we can see. Sure, we now write 2013 on our checks and there are new members of the Bend City Council, some of whom have been vocal in their opposition to the project.

Other than that, the basic facts remain the same.

The city fully expects to begin work on replacing the current system’s aging pipe this summer, for one thing. It has purchased that pipe.

A dual-source water supply still remains critical. Some who oppose the project argue that the city’s right to Bridge Creek water is written into law, as if that somehow makes it inviolate. Laws change, however, and gambling that they won’t is irresponsible.

Meanwhile, there’s the value of having water moved by gravity, as Bridge Creek’s water is. It’s cheaper than pumping over time.

As for public discussion of the project, it’s been going on for years, literally. At some point, the talking must stop and the work must begin. A majority of the City Council has voted twice in the last month to do just that.

The chamber has every right to study Bridge Creek again — if its members want to spend their money on yet another look at a project that is, for all intents and purposes, already on its way. Why they would want to do so is an entirely different question.