An expanded trail, a boardwalk and additional vegetation are included in a $7.3 million beautification project to reconstruct the crumbling bank along the Deschutes River in Drake and Pacific parks in Bend. The project’s design is about 30 percent complete, and board members of the Bend Park & Recreation District, which oversees the parks and riverbank, will hear details during a 5:30 p.m. work session Tuesday in the district office building at 799 SW Columbia St.
Bank improvements vary along the stretch of the Deschutes River, but they include removing a decades-old rock and concrete wall and replacing it with a greener, more natural bank.
The banks are failing in places because of piping, a process in which water slips through cracks in the wall and takes cohesive soils with it when it leaves, project manager Brian Hudspeth said.
The beach where river floaters get out will be extended and have a path up to a new plaza area where floaters can wait for the shuttle service. Downstream from the beach, plans call for taller trees along the bank, with a few points where people can have unobstructed views or physical access to the river.
Higher vegetation may cut down on the park’s problems with Canada geese, large flocks of whom shear Drake Park’s grass and leave small piles of poop all over, park district Executive Director Don Horton said. Geese want to be able to see grass from the water before they get out.
“It won’t keep geese out of the park, but it will reduce the problem we have down here,” he said.
The river still will be visible through the trees, Horton stressed. And in the Mirror Pond area after a pedestrian bridge, shorter plants and a paved path along the river provide clear views.
Further on, where the riverfront trail becomes a little-used and tricky-to-navigate path, the district plans to add boardwalks and extend the trail past the Newport Avenue bridge and into Pacific Park.
If park district board members like the design, they can ask park staff to present funding and phasing strategies for a vote at a meeting. Funding for the project would come from the park district’s general fund, the fees developers pay to cover the costs new residents will have on parks and from possible grants. Because a large portion would come from the general fund, construction won’t take place at one time.
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