Changes could be in store for events at Drake Park

Newer parks, private facilities relieving pressure on downtown park

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

Park events by the numbers

2008: 46 events

2013: 69 event

Top event locations in 2013

Riverbend Park; 21

Drake Park: 18

Compass Park: 8

The Bend Park & Recreation District is considering minor changes to its policies governing events at Drake Park.

The district’s board of directors considered a proposal Tuesday night that would require all events to end by 9 p.m., but ended discussion without taking action. Jan Taylor, the district’s community relations manager, said the board intends to take up the issue in October.

Currently, events held Sunday through Thursday must wrap up by 8:30 p.m. — the Thursday night Munch & Music concert series has an exception that allows it to go until 9:30 p.m. — while Friday and Saturday events must end by 9:30 p.m.

Taylor said although the board could make other changes, the current proposal would retain a policy of no more than six event days per month at Drake Park, no more than two per week, and no events between Oct. 16 and April 30.

Drake Park is the only park in the Bend system that has such rigid limitations on events, Taylor said, dating to a 1992 lawsuit filed against the district by neighbors of the park. The neighbors agreed to drop the suit, she said, if the park district worked with them to set limits on events.

Taylor said while concerts, festivals, and other events have expanded greatly over the last 20 years or so, Drake Park has enjoyed some relief, with the opening of Riverbend Park and non-park facilities like the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

Unlike Drake Park, Riverbend Park was built with events in mind, Taylor said. Irrigation lines were installed deeper underground, where they’re unlikely to be struck by a tent peg driven into the soil, and the pathways around the grassy areas are wide enough for a vehicle and ringed with electrical outlets.

Taylor said event permit fees paid to the park district totaled around $45,000 in 2013, which is likely less than the district spends on staff time working with event organizers.

—Reporter: 541-383-0387, shammers@bendbulletin.com