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Oregon Parks and Recreation Department begins review of scenic waterway upstream from Bend

Dec. 9, 2016

Bend OR -- The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has begun a limited review of the administrative provisions within its Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) covering the lowest portion of the Upper Deschutes State Scenic Waterway. The scenic waterway, designated in 1988, starts downstream of Wickiup Reservoir, and the last downstream mile is inside Bend's Urban Growth Boundary.

The department agreed to conduct the review after the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission refused to amend one part of the rule in 2016. The amendment -- requested by the Bend Park and Recreation District -- would have allowed property owners to request to build bicycle/pedestrian bridges across the scenic waterway. The new review does not focus on any one aspect of management.

The current staff review will not change any rules, but will consider how well the administrative provisions work within the Bend Urban Growth Boundary. In addition to department staff, an advisory group—the Upper Deschutes Advisory Group—will assist with the review, and includes: city, county, and federal officials, the recreation district, neighborhood associations along the scenic waterway, and recreation advocates interested in both river and land-based recreation. OPRD has hired Community Solutions of Central Oregon, a Bend nonprofit, to facilitate the meetings and review. The nonprofit will also collect broader public thoughts about rules along the lower section of the waterway through a web-based crowdsourcing initiative at http://solutionsco.org/crowdsourcing.htm?m=3&s=751, as well as a series of public forums designed to engage homeowners directly.

More information about the review is online at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/Pages/upper-deschutes-scenic-waterway.aspx. The review will result in a report to OPRD Director Lisa Sumption in March 2017. After receiving the report, Director Sumption will decide whether a new round of formal rulemaking will start.

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Community Solutions of Central Oregon is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Oregon and has provided appropriate dispute resolution and facilitation services to communities throughout the Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson tri-county region since 1997. For more on their mission, programs, and services visit their website at www.solutionsco.org.