Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wall proposed to keep east-siders out of Bend's west side

The sound wall along the parkway naturally divides Bend
In order to form a more perfect Bend, some are proposing building a wall to divide the town in two sections: east and west.

This divergence has been brewing for more than a decade when NorthWest Crossing, a planned community with micro-lots, redefined living on the the west side.

Also, the president of OSU-Cascades (OSUC) pointed out the obvious when Oregon State University chose Bend's west side to shoe-horn the new branch campus into.

"We want students to experience the real Bend, and you can't do that anywhere but on the west side of town," said OSUC Vice-President Becky Johnson.

Some thought this tension would ease once the west side got its own zip code - 97703 - this past summer. (The east side is now divided between 97701 to the north and 97702 to the south.)

Sadly, it didn't.

One west-sider fumed: "We thought having our own zip code would solve a lot of our problems with east-enders, but, they still come over here to float the river, drink at our brewpubs and clog up our streets. They even go to concerts over here. It's an outrage."

The west side is populated by the hip and the rich.

The unwashed masses east of Third Street include, nurses, doctors, lawyers, teachers, retail clerks, tattoo artists, "bud-tenders," and undocumented workers. It's a mixed bag of the high-brow, low-brow and uni-brow.

Using the term "east-enders" to refer to east-side residents dovetails with the new appellation for Bend residents from Bendites to Benders. Since Bend is now known as a beer-producing and beer-chugging town and is soon to be a marijuana mecca, Bender is quite apt.

Of course, the main stumbling block to erecting a barrier in Bend is where this wall should be constructed: At the parkway, at the Deschutes River or at Third Street.

The parkway, which runs north-south and already makes traveling east to west difficult, seems like a perfect divide. Plus, the sound walls in place could be extended the entire length of the parkway, which would reduce the overall cost.

Yes, cost is an issue. Taking a page from Donald Trump, some west-siders believe east-siders should pay the cost of the barrier.

"Since we rarely go east of Third Street, they (the east-side residents) should be forced to pay for the wall or fence or hedgerow or whatever they can afford," one man said. "Okay, I go to Costco once a week, but that's the only time you'd ever catch me over in the east-side wasteland.

Passes will be required for students to cross from Bend's east side to west side. Checkpoints will be set up at Greenwood, Franklin and Reed Market.

In a related move, some west-side neighborhood associations are petitioning the Bend-LaPine School District to ban all transfer requests from east-side students to west-side schools.

A citywide vote on the wall is slated sometime in 2016. To avoid a threatened lawsuit from west-Benders, the city will only count west-side ballots.

No comments:

Post a Comment