BEND, Ore. - The Bend Park and Recreation District plans some modifications to improve the users’ experience at the Bend Whitewater Park on the Deschutes River. But first the public has an opportunity to comment on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit sought to do more in-river work over the next few months.
The whitewater park opened to great fanfare several months ago, but was shut for a time for adjustments after many users reported frightening experiences and minor injuries in the “safe passage” channel of the facility.
The Corps of Engineers is being asked to issue a permit to allow the park district to discharge just over 500 cubic yards of permanent and temporary fill material in order “to raise the elevation of pneumatic gates, reduce scour hole depths, and raise the elevation of whitewater pools for the purpose of improving the safety and performance of the whitewater park structures,” according to the permit application public notice released Friday.
In the safe passage channel, the park district plans to add rock along the upstream edge and in up to 11 drop structures, grout would be pumped into existing voids, to reduce sub-surface flow.
Changes in the whitewater channel would include adjusting boulders, raising the concrete foundation slab and adjustable gates and other steps to “form a more consistent eddy for wave access by users at drop 2.” Higher curbs are planned at drop 3 and more grout at the toe of drop 4 “to improve wave consistency.”
Park district Executive Director Don Horton said they are planning "a few modifications to the center whitewater channel drops to help improve the waves. The work is not intended to change the appearance" of the channel, Horton said, referring to the project as "more maintenance-related" in nature.
To do the work, a temporary road would be put in linking McKay Park with the in-channel construction, to allow a temporary 50-foot-long, 12-foot-wide bridge and 30-foot-wide platform over the safe passage channel. Heavy equipment such as cranes and concrete pumping gear would work from the platform and the concrete islands separating the channels.
There’s also plans in January to add soil anchors along the upstream marsh at the Les Schwab Amphitheater to secure a floating sign and buoys to limit access to designated critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog.
The park district would coordinate with PacifiCorp to lower Mirror Pond water levels about two week for the construction work.
The full permit application can be reviewed at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Notices/
Comments to the Army Corps of Engineers (or requests for more information) should be submitted to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Eugene Field Office
211 E. 7th Avenue
Eugene, Oregon 97401-2722
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality also is being asked to approve a water quality certification of the work, as required by the Federal Clean Water Act. It also is seeking public comments in a request attached to the notice.