By Claudia Kane

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

With regard to the Evergreen Housing/Brooks Scanlon 170-unit proposed apartment complex:

Many citizens of Bend have attended/testified overflowing public meetings and have passed out flyers, carried signs and written letters to the city planner with the goal of preventing a four- or five-story apartment building next to the Bend Park & Recreation District (BP&R) ice skating Pavilion.

The overwhelming majority of attendees at these meetings have protested the construction of this oversized complex.

Additionally, Evergreen is asking for a height variance for this project overlooking the river.

In addition to this proposed large complex, there is a complex of 200 units currently under construction replacing the collapsed Ray’s Food Place on the west side.

If allowed, the 170-unit proposed apartment complex concerns me for the following reasons:

• According to the developers, this complex will be the most expensive apartments in Bend.

It is not affordable housing — which is what Bend currently needs.

The plan is for 170 units with an insufficient 187 parking spaces. Developers have noted that OSU’s parking lot is nearby for additional parking, which further supports that the parking is insufficient for the number of units.

• It is an added burden to the already crowded Colorado Bridge gridlock during commute times. Traffic already backs up at Columbia/Simpson beyond the fire station entrance/exit. With the additional traffic of this development and the new 200-unit apartment complex already under construction, imagine an emergency that would require fire trucks to access the Colorado Bridge or other gridlocked roads.

• Additionally, this intersection is and will be impacted by the expansion of OSU-Cascades as an outlet to the Bend Parkway from both the college (via Colorado Avenue) and the additional parking near the complex that the developers have noted for their additional parking.

• Let’s not overlook the cars, bikes and pets that will definitely need to spill onto the existing neighborhood and parks — many of which are often already used heavily during concerts at Les Schwab Amphitheater and crowded in the summer months with water enthusiasts.

• Consider what Pamela Hulse Andrews (founder of Cascade Business News) had to say about tall buildings and the river, “If variances are approved, you could see 30-foot buildings next to a building more than twice that tall and ruin the charm and ambiance that has been maintained by keeping buildings low near the river.

It would be a travesty to be shortsighted enough to favor development over design appeal.”

• This Colorado Bridge area is the “gateway” to beautiful high lakes, Mt. Bachelor ski area, COCC and OSU, not to overlook the schools, medical complexes, breweries, banks, businesses and subdivisions of Bend. Visit Bend promotes this area adding an influx of visitors to Bend.

• In November 2012 the voters passed a bond of approximately $20 million to build the whitewater rafting area, The Pavilion ice skating rink and improve McKay Park, the projected payoff date for this bond is 2033.

I wonder if taxpayers would have supported this bond knowing that a very large 170-unit apartment complex would be allowed by our city planners to dominate the space and essentially use it as their own backyard and parking spaces?

I hope others in Bend will get involved in opposing this development. Do we want to become a higher-density city such as Seattle, Portland and cities in California with an infrastructure that doesn’t support the density?

I don’t think that’s why most of us love living here.

— Claudia Kane lives in Bend.

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