Bend parks bond supporters using social media

Park and rec district plans projects

POSTED: 5:42 PM PDT September 27, 2012    UPDATED: 5:57 PM PDT September 27, 2012 
BEND, Ore. -

On Election Day, Bend voters will decide if they want to pay for a $29 million bond measure. Measure 9-86 would help Bend Parks and Rec make major improvements around the city. Supporters have found new ways to reach voters through social media.

A stroke of the keyboard or a click of the mouse can spread information at lightning fast speed. And when it comes to voting for a multimillion dollar bond measure, supporters are taking advantage of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

"People are paying attention and reading what we're posting, and like I've said, there's a lot of shares going on as well," co-chair of the park bond committee Betsy Skovborg said Thursday. "So it's only spreading further into those other people's Facebook pages."

The social media pages explain that the $29 million bond measure would connect the River Trail from Tumalo to Sunriver, add more fields at Bend Pine Nursery Park, build a rec center on Simpson Avenue and make the Colorado Avenue spillway safer.

Supporters say they can also reach out to to voters who might oppose the bond because of a property tax hike. It would cost residents an extra $4 a month for someone who owns a $200,000 house.

"Now is much more the time than five or 10 years from now," said Skovborg. "It's going to cost a lot more, and we don't even know if the land would still be available then."

One of the partners in the campaign is the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance. The members have been trying to make changes to the dangerous spillway for seven years, and they just finished a video supporting the bond.

"When you invest into a video or a commercial, it's not going to do you any good if it's not being viewed," said member Geoff Frank. "So Facebook is a great avenue to really spread it out."

Supporters hope they can continue to spread the message and turn "likes" into votes on Election Day.

"People liking it, and spreading it to all of their friends, and sharing it and passing it along is just crucial to just helping us spread it as quick as we can," said Frank.

You can read more about Measure 9-86 at bendparksandrec.org