Bend finishes central district redevelopment plan

City will take the proposal to the public at a Monday meeting

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin

Bend planners will share with the public the latest version of a plan to encourage redevelopment of the city center into a “vibrant district” at a final meeting on the topic Monday. The plan focuses on the area between the Bend Parkway and NE Fourth Street and from NE Revere Avenue to approximately NE Burnside Avenue.

The transportation and zoning plan is aimed at converting the area from an industrial and drive-through retail area to a pedestrian-friendly district where people can live, work and socialize. City planners wrote in the plan that “some community members have suggested that a portion of the area could become a new arts or cultural district for the city in the future.”

Industrial and commercial zoning in the area made more sense when Third Street was U.S. Highway 97, before the Oregon Department of Transportation built the parkway, according to the new plan. Proposed changes would include accepting some traffic congestion in the area.

“It should be noted that a certain amount of congestion can be healthy and beneficial for a city or neighborhood,” city planners wrote. “For example, driving more slowly through an area can increase retail sales and real estate values.”

The draft plan could also lead to zoning changes for land in the area and the following types of development:

• Along NE First Street: A combination of light industrial, residential, commercial and other land uses will fill out this section, which “could lend itself to a significant amount of redevelopment,” with buildings up to eight stories in height.

• Along NE Second Street: This stretch will be a mix of office, residential and small-scale retail land uses. This area would also have the potential for significant redevelopment and “is likely to be where the bulk of higher density residential” development would be located. Building heights could range from three to six stories, or taller, possibly with underground parking.

• Along NE Third Street: Large-scale commercial operations will likely continue for a while here, according to the proposal. In the long term, planners expect the area to transition to a mix of commercial, retail and residential development, especially near the southern end of the plan area. Building heights could range from four to six stories, or taller in some places.

• Along NE Fourth Street: Redevelopment would lead to mostly residential buildings, with some offices and small-scale, ground level retail establishments to serve the neighborhood to the east. Homes would be a mix of multifamily buildings and single-family houses, with height limited to three stories.

• Along east-west streets: It will be mostly commercial and offices along the busier sections of Greenwood Avenue and Franklin Avenue, with a mix of residential, small-scale retail and commercial or offices along other streets.

“It will likely require decades of public and private investment to realize this vision,” planners concluded in the draft plan.

Senior Planner Wendy Robinson said the city will incorporate the central district plan into the larger plan for the city’s urban growth boundary. State officials rejected a previous version of that plan, and one of the critiques the city must address is that it did not sufficiently plan for infill and redevelopment inside its existing boundary.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, hborrud@bendbulletin.com