Bend water project begins; popular trails closed

Tumalo Falls trailhead closed until May

Popular hiking trails closed as construction begins

BEND, Ore. - Several trails and the Tumalo Falls trailhead have closed as construction begins on Bend's controversial surface water project.

Officials say the trails will be closed until the end of May.

The project, to replace an aging pipeline, has been in planning for years. Opposition and red tape has slowed the start of the project.

"It was not anything we wanted, was that kind of short notice," Tom Hickmann, city engineer, said Wednesday. "We had actually hoped to get the notice out a couple weeks ago."

The city says they wanted to give a more advance notice, but legal appeals and the permit process slowed them down.

"The schedule, even in the last couple weeks was impacted by due to the fire," said Hickmann. "The fire impacted the Forest Services availability to work with us on getting this special use permit."

The closure includes the Tumalo Trail head, the Farewell and Bridge Creek trails. Officials are also closing parts of the North and South fork trails.

For hikers like Jeff Goodell of Portland, the closure comes at an inopportune time.

"The mosquitoes are gone and the weather is cooling down, so it's prime time to be able to go up on those trails there," said Goodell

People who frequent the area say it's not the end of the world.

"Its not too bad -- I really did wanna be able to ride the north fork during the month of October," said Goodell. "I can live without it. There are other places."

Construction on the project is set to begin on October 10th.

A community meeting is also planned by Mortenson Construction for Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Skyliners Lodge, to provide details on the project's impact on area residents.

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