Editorial: Lack of notice in Tumalo Falls Road closure

There’s nothing wrong with closing a road to work on it or under it. It’s safer. It also makes it easier to bring in the equipment.

So it should not be hard to understand why the city of Bend and the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday that Tumalo Falls Road will be closed until spring.

The city is going to be installing a pipeline to bring water in from Bridge Creek as part of its $20.1 million surface water project. Construction is scheduled to start on Oct. 10, and equipment needs to be staged before construction can start.

There is still an appeal pending before the Land Use Board of Appeals, and Central Oregon LandWatch says it is going to file a federal complaint. Should that mean the city does nothing until every possible complaint or appeal is resolved?

That approach would yield control over projects to anybody with a lawyer.

The road closure will make accessing Tumalo Falls more difficult. It’s going to affect access to all sorts of activities — hiking and later cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Those things are still possible. It will require a tromp through the woods.

The announcement was likely a surprise to many. There was no clear advance notice. The mentions of the road closure are buried in planning documents.

If there was a mistake, it was that the city and the Forest Service did not make it clear to the community that construction would likely mean a road closure. Bend and Central Oregon residents are keenly interested in access to the outdoors.

This project has already been tumultuous. No clear advance notice added unnecessarily to the tumult.

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