Parking for Crux Fermentation Project has generated concern for neighboring property owners almost from the time the brewpub opened in June 2012.
Now, Crux is talking with its neighbors to keep open a privately owned portion of SW Industrial Way that links the brewpub to another busy commercial site a quarter-mile to the west, the Box Factory. A converted mill-era structure, the Box Factory is home to offices, a bar, fitness centers, shops, a cider pub and a brewpub.
“When Crux was Crux, it was the only attraction,” said Crux co-owner Larry Sidor on Monday. “Now there’s the Box Factory, and we’ve become a true entertainment zone.”
In summers past, the private portion of Industrial Way east of SW Bond Street has provided impromptu overflow parking, but concrete barriers recently appeared along that stretch that block parking access. A pair of posts marks where a gate may be installed to restrict public access to the road.
William Smith Properties Inc. owns SW Industrial Way from its junction with SW Bond Street east to a railroad spur near SW Division Street, where Crux is located.
“There’s the issue of Crux parking itself, but in terms of Industrial Way, it’s a private street,” said Bend City Engineer Ryan Oster on Tuesday. “If Bill Smith wanted to put up some barriers or restrict access, he’d be well within his right to do so.”
A group comprised of neighboring commercial property owners, Mill A Area Owners Committee LLC, manages that length road on behalf of Smith Properties, said Scott Carlson, committee president.
Carlson also works for McKenzie Creek Development LLC, which owns the former KorPine mill site, 21 acres on the south flank of SW Industrial Way. He said Crux and the committee need to come to terms on public access to Industrial Way, including liability.
“It’s just something as neighbors we need to work through,” Carlson said Monday. “Crux is not part of the Mill A Owners, so they are coming to us to try to work out some kind of licensing agreement for users and vendors. Mill A is happy to talk, but we need some protection if people are going to be using the street.”
Sidor said Monday he agreed last week to tack a rider on the brewpub insurance policy accepting some liability for activity on SW Industrial Way. Terms under which parking will become available again, or whether the street remains open, are still on the table, Carlson said.
“If there’s a liability that doesn’t warrant public traffic, we could have an instance where we could put a gate on it and close access,” he said.
Sidor said he’s wanted to reach some solution to the parking situation on Industrial Way, but representatives of Hooker Creek Cos., an affiliated company of McKenzie Creek Development, are slow to respond. Bill Smith, president of William Smith Properties Inc. and the developer of the nearby Old Mill District, said Crux is the slow one.
Carlson said Hooker Creek is not involved in oversight of Industrial Way. However, a lawyer for Hooker Creek, who identified the company as the “operator” of the KorPine site, wrote the city Community Development Department in January, objecting to Crux plans to expand the brewpub by 2,800 square feet. Construction on the addition started in February.
Attorney Steven P. Hultberg, of Bend, wrote that Crux does not have enough parking for the number of people who in warmer months flock to its lawn on the south side of its building. Heidi Kennedy, a city senior planner, by email responded that Crux’s plans comply with existing zoning. The number of parking spots it identified, 86, exceeds the minimum required, 67, she wrote. Parking is provided in Crux’s own lot south of its lawn, on SW Division Street and on property to the east leased from the Oregon Department of Transportation, according to the Crux expansion plan. Hultberg’s was the only email expressing concern about the brewpub expansion. He is not alone, however.
“Crux has overbuilt their facility, and there’s no place to park,” Smith said. “Parking is a real issue. You’ve got people drinking and walking down the middle of the road. It’s not built for parking, and there are no sidewalks.”
Oster, the city engineer, said the city has received no formal complaints about parking or congestion around Crux.
“There have been times that parking lot on their south edge fills up and people start parking on Aune and start parking on Industrial Way,” he said. SW Aune Street runs parallel to the Crux southern lot line.
Smith’s portion of SW Industrial Way could become a public thoroughfare someday, depending on how the KorPine site, now vacant, is developed. Heavy snowfall in January 2017 caused the roof on the former KorPine particle board plant to collapse. The structure has since been leveled.
The property is pegged for development, but Oster said no plan has been filed with the city, although the city and parties involved have had “high-level” discussions.
“Some conversations have to do with the transportation network, how it all interacts with Aune, Scalehouse Loop and Bond Street,” Oster said. “We’ll sit down when they’re ready and look at access points.”
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