|Beer fest at Les Schwab Amphitheater last weekend|
It seems that the city of Bend allows Bill Smith, the owner of the Old Mill District, (OMD) to block public access to public walkways and roads.
It was just past 4:30 pm today and my wife and I were walking back to our car, which was parked behind the vacant Orvis building.
A guard next to Anthony's restaurant blocked our way from proceeding north along the riverfront.
She said a concert was slated to begin at 6:30 pm and the Old Mill was banning any "loitering" along the pathway to people who could hear the music for free.
Well, it was about two hours before the concert was to begin. The opening act was doing a sound check. We were just walking back to our car and not loitering to listen to a sound check.
But, we didn't push on pass the guard and continue along the river. Instead, we walked in front of the shops along the road as she directed.
Thank god I didn't buy anything down at the Old Mill aside from an iced latte. In fact, I never buy anything at the ridiculously overpriced stores. And, I've never paid to see a concert there. Now, I'm so glad I haven't.
Occasionally, I go to a movie there or eat at one of the restaurants.
Now, I no longer see a need to visit the Old Mill on the day of a concert if access to the river is restricted.
The Old Mill has received flak before over it's closure of Shevlin Hixon Dr., a public road adjacent to the Les Schwab amphitheater, during a concert. The road is even closed to residents walking home after patronizing the Old Mill's shops, restaurants or movie multiplex.
This is what happens when private interests collide with public access to a natural wonder.
It's important to note this because well-heeled interests are angling to restrict public access to the Deschutes River in downtown Bend when Pacific Power's small hydro facility is eventually dismantled.
A redevelopment of the area will likely occur with major funding from taxpayers statewide. Yes, the wealthy always need corporate welfare to "create jobs."
As they say, socialize the costs and privatize the profits.
Oh, and by the way, they're allowed to cut off access to a scenic river.
Well, I urge everyone to avoid the Old Mill District on concert days. It obviously doesn't need your business.
Also, oppose the current redevelopment plan for downtown Bend.