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Bend urges safety on waterways as temps rise

River with people in tubes and other floating devices on rapids with rocks and people in the river.
Emily Cureton Cook
FILE: Tubes pile up after one person flips and swims through the rapids at the Bend Whitewater Park on Aug. 9, 2023.

Summer is starting to feel like it’s around the corner. With warmer temperatures expected this weekend in Central Oregon, Bend officials are urging river-goers to take caution and follow some rules.

“We ask our community to work together to keep parks a safe and welcoming space for everyone,” Bend Police spokesperson Sheila Miller said in a press release.

“Please remember that in addition to being illegal, it’s really dangerous to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car, or on a bike. Make arrangements to ensure that your fun summer plans don’t put yourself and others at risk,” she added.

Bend parks officials said drinking alcohol on the waterways and jumping off area bridges are both illegal and dangerous. Jeff Hagler, park steward manager with Bend Parks and Recreation, stressed that parks are public property.

“If we observe unpermitted consumption of alcohol, we will ask for it to be disposed of, or for violators to vacate the park,” he said in a press release.

Alcohol is prohibited in Bend parks without a permit. People caught drinking or having unpermitted alcohol in park areas could be banned from all parks for 30 days or more.

Hagler also zeroed in on bridge jumping as another dangerous activity that could result in serious injury or death, due to sharp rocks and underwater hazards shifting around from season to season.

“Bend’s logging past is just below the surface of the Deschutes River as well as jagged lava rocks. A hazard that wasn’t there yesterday could be there today, so we encourage everyone to stick to other ways of recreating.”

Bend Parks and Recreation’s website has more information on how to safely enjoy the river.

Copyright 2024 OPB

Kathryn Styer Martínez