Solar farm seeks county OK on Bend's Eastside

Public hearing Tuesday night at 6

Hearing set on new Bend solar farm

BEND, Ore. - A new solar farm could be coming to Bend, and there's a public hearing on it Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Deschutes County offices at 1300 NW Wall Street.

The company applying to build it is Bear Creek and Solar Center, and they're sending a representative to Bend for the meeting Tuesday night.

The goal of this project is to have another source of clean energy, but there are questions the applicant needs to answer at Tuesday's hearing.

"Does it relate harmoniously to the built environment and natural environment of the area?" Deschutes County Associate Planner Jacob Ripper asked Monday. "They've proposed some screening measures -- are those adequate?"

Another question is whether there will be a bond or other security required for shutting the facility down in 30 or 40 years, when it goes out of service.

If approved, the farm would be built on two adjacent lots at Hamby and Neff roads on the far east side of Bend.

But that location could prove to be a problem -- it's very near the Bend Municipal Airport, in an area called the Airport Safety Combining Zone.

One of the requirements for this project is that the panels aren't visually distracting, which might make you think of planes coming in and out of the airport, and whether or not the panels would distract the pilots.

Ripper cited an official engineer's report saying the panels would not create a glare in pilots' faces. He went on to say he thinks Bear Creek Solar meets or will be able to meet most of the criteria, and believes their project should be approved.

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