The gate that went up across Industrial Way outside Crux Fermentation Project last week marked an impasse in talks between the brewpub and neighboring property owners about public use of the road in Bend.
A representative of the property owners says the disagreement centers on Crux’s share of maintenance and liability for that privately owned portion of Industrial Way, which links Crux to other drinking establishments and businesses at the Box Factory. But Crux co-owner Larry Sidor said Monday the sticking point is whether his company will have a say in future development of 21 acres along Industrial Way, the former KorPine mill site.
The section of Industrial Way in question is controlled by a group of property owners, Mill A Area Owners Committee LLC, said Scott Carlson, president of the committee.
One of the Mill A group members is McKenzie Creek Development LLC, an entity that owns the KorPine site and shares its address with the Bend construction company Hooker Creek. Carlson represents McKenzie Creek on the committee.
The private section of Industrial Way is right outside Crux’s door, but the brewpub has its address on SW Division Street, which connects to Industrial. Rather, it did until the gate went up. The brewpub is not a member of the Mill A owners group.
Carlson said his last contact with Crux representatives was March 16, when he presented via email his final offer of a licensing agreement that would cover Crux’s responsibilities. At that time, he said, he made it clear that if the offer wasn’t accepted, the Mill A group would close the road.
The gate went up on Thursday, Carlson said.
Several weeks earlier, the Mill A group, which includes William Smith Properties Inc., installed concrete barriers along Industrial Way so that Crux customers couldn’t use it for overflow parking. Carlson said the neighboring property owners have been concerned about people walking and driving down the middle of a narrow street lined with parked cars.
Sidor said he’s already addressed the liability issue through a rider on his insurance policy, and he offered to contribute to maintenance costs. He said he didn’t sign the license agreement because it would keep Crux from contesting future development of the KorPine site.
“He wants us to sign away all our rights to contest anything that happens to Industrial Way,” Sidor said of Carlson.
Carlson could not be reached to comment further on the contents of the proposed license agreement. He acknowledged that Sidor had offered an alternative agreement that would cover maintenance costs. “Because it is a private road, we insisted it needs to be a license agreement, for use of the road,” he said.
Both sides say they’ve operated under a license agreement in the past. Carlson said the Mill A group has been working on an agreement since the last one expired at the end of 2015. Sidor said Crux reached out to have the license agreement renewed, but Carlson ignored the requests until about six months ago, when McKenzie Creek was rumored to be working with a land developer.
“It started with them saying we wouldn’t challenge any land-use planning. It’s gone downhill from there,” said Sidor, who is also the brewmaster at Crux. “We want to be good neighbors, but we don’t want to be bullied.”
Carlson said McKenzie Creek is moving forward with redevelopment of the KorPine site, which stretches along the south edge of Industrial Way. “We’ve been meeting with the city, trying to work out infrastructure issues,” he said. “It’ll be sooner rather than later when that property gets developed.”
While Carlson has tried to distance Hooker Creek from the Industrial Way dispute, Crux is squarely blaming the construction company, which operated the KorPine mill site. The building’s roof collapsed under the weight of snow in January 2017.
“Driving to Crux got a little trickier today thanks to our neighbors, Hooker Creek,” the brewpub posted on its Facebook page after the gate went up.
Crux is directing customers to use an overflow lot, which is accessed off Industrial Way, or to enter the main parking lot via Aune Street. There’s also a pedestrian path that runs from Crux’s property to Arizona Avenue, said Christina LaRue, general manager of the brewpub.
Crux customers aren’t the only ones who drive on the private section of Industrial Way, LaRue said. “I’ve always seen traffic coming through here, constantly,” she said. “You have the storage facility, Spoken Moto, Box Factory. There’s a constant flow. Or there was a constant flow of traffic before this, before the gate went up.”
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