As if we needed another reason to drink beer here in Central Oregon, Beer Week started today. There are special beer happenings all week long, ranging from beer tastings at Newport Market and Broken Top Bottle Shop, and Tap Take-overs at Crows Feet Commons, to beer pairing meals and growler filling specials. For a complete list of all the events all week long check out the Central Oregon Beer Week Website.
Archives for May 2013
May 13, 2013
City of Bend Named a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists
Washington, D.C. – May 13, 2013 – As bicycling continues to grow in popularity, leaders in cities across the country, like Bend, are embracing the environmental, financial and quality of life benefits that come with a population that likes to ride. Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) and Bend has been named a Silver BFC.
“We are inspired when we see places like Bend making bicycling safer and more convenient,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know that investment will be returned many times over in the health, environmental, transportation, and quality of life benefits of a thriving, attractive community.”
The BFC program is transforming the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 259 BFCs in 47 states across America. The Silver BFC award recognizes Bend’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
“Bend already has complete streets policies which have resulted in improved bike lane coverage. Bend will be focusing on now closing gaps in the system on older roadways and increasing the enjoyment factor for riding in town. Future projects such as Reed Market Road between 3rd Street and 27th Street will allow commuters to travel from one side of town to the other. This fall we will also be showcasing new facilities on Riverside Boulevard and Franklin Avenue aimed at increasing riding comfort and enjoyment. These roads will feature cycle track bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and shared lane markings. Both cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes improve the separation of people in cars and people on bikes, similar to the existing cycle track on the southern river crossing. The Bend Police Department will continue bike safety education and enforcement through the Bike Diversion Program, and the city’s Engineering Infrastructure Planning Department is working with the community to identify bike facility needs and priorities as well as implement safety enhancements throughout the community. The BFC process is rigorous and the bar is raised with each application. By measuring our progress we are able to evaluate areas in need of improvement,” states Robin Lewis, PE, City of Bend Transportation Engineer.
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more then 500 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
To apply or learn more about the free BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.
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City of Bend Contact:
Robin Lewis, PE
These days the amount of information available to home buyers on the internet is remarkable. There was a time when Realtors held all the secrets to home listings and home buyers would have to go through a Realtor just to get access to this information. Now almost everything a Realtor knows about a house is online for anyone to see. This can be a good thing for people who like to do their own research, but it can also be information overload for a lot of people. Having a Realtor can help with the amount of choices you have by weighing in with their professional opinion based on your needs, wants and personality. Realtors come in handy with their market knowledge and they usually know information about a house or neighborhood that isn’t mentioned in the listing. After all, the listing information provided online is simply marketing for the home seller. The listing Realtor isn’t going to mention anything negative about the house, only the good things. If you are doing some preliminary searching on your own, or looking at listings your Realtor has sent you, there are some things you can do to help narrow down your choices if you feel overwhelmed with your choices.
1. Get pre-qualified for a loan.
This is an important first step that most buyers overlook initially. There is nothing worse than looking at houses and finding one you absolutely love and then finding out you can’t afford it. Once you get qualified for a loan you will know exactly what you can afford and what your payments would be like. You will need to be pre-qualified when the time comes to make your offer on a house anyway, so getting it out of the way first means when you find that perfect home you can get your offer in right away.
2. Set your search criteria
The next step is to decide what you are looking for in a house and coming up with what your minimum needs are. If you need 3 bedrooms, then there is no use in wasting time looking at 2 bedroom homes. Initially, I wouldn’t narrow your focus too much. Separate what you are looking for in an ideal house into wants and needs. Focus first on what your absolute needs are such as size and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If you get a lot of homes coming up as a result of your basic need list, you can start adding in your wants. Wants would be things that aren’t deal breakers, but things you would like in a house. Maybe you need a 2 car garage, but would like a 3 car garage if you could find one. That would be an example of a want. I wouldn’t necessarily set search criteria for items that are easy to add to a house later, such as granite countertops, a swimming pool, all hardwood floors or those types of things. Things like those are relatively easy to add, and if you only search homes that have these features you might miss out on one that is absolutely perfect for you just without an item you can add later.
3. Narrow down your choices
Once you got your search results of homes that meet your criteria, unless you didn’t get that many, you will want to narrow your list down. Most listings these days will have lots of pictures; take a look at them and get rid of any houses that don’t fit your style. You shouldn’t have any problem getting rid of houses that you can’t picture yourself in. Try to look past messy rooms or wild paint in the pictures and look at layout and fixtures. Cosmetic fixes are generally not too expensive and easy to take care of. Once you eliminated the ones that definitely aren’t what you are looking for, go to Google maps or Bing maps where you can get an aerial view of these houses. If your listings include the address of the house, plug each one into the map so you can get an idea of the area the house is in. Scroll around and look at the surroundings of the house. You will want to make sure there is nothing wrong with the immediate area near the house. Is the house directly behind a gas station? Is it located next to a bar? Is it right next to a major road? These are the kind of things you will be looking for. You should be able to eliminate a few more based on this. The final step if you live local to where you are buying a home is to do a drive by of each home. What you are looking for on each drive by isn’t just the house that is for sale, but all the neighboring homes too. Remember the only thing you can’t change about your house is the neighbors and surrounding properties. At this point you should have a reasonable sized list of homes left. I would set up some sort of ranking system so that you know which your top choices are. At this point your next step will be to involve your Realtor so that you can get their professional opinion of each home and schedule a time for you to tour them.
4. Find your new home
Now you should be working with a Realtor, hopefully me; to show you the homes you narrowed your choices down to. A Realtor is a valuable asset to help guide you through the final decisions on choosing a house. When I take my clients on the home tours, unless they are from out of town or they have limited time to find a house, I usually will limit the home tours to 6 to 8 a day at the most. Anymore and people tend to get the homes features confused when trying to remember them, and it can be overwhelming to have to look and think about too many homes in a single day. I will also provide my clients with a copy of the listing for each house with a comment form on the back to help them keep track of what they liked and didn’t like about each house. Sometimes you will find the perfect house in the first go around, sometimes none of these will work out for you. You don’t want to settle for something that you aren’t going to love, so don’t feel pressured to buy the best of the bunch if it isn’t ideal for you. The perfect house for you is out there somewhere.
As we all know there has been a lot of talk over the past few years of what to do about the silt build up in Mirror Pond. The Mirror Pond Management Board has narrowed down their future options to four choices which they will develop price tags and illustrations for by June. The four options are the following:
- Sediment removal. Basically everything will stay the same and they will just remove as much sediment as they can.
- Partial sediment removal. They will take some of the sediment out and build up some areas along the shore and the island. This will make the river a little faster and would require some artificial banks to aid erosion.
- Dam removal. Removing the Newport Ave dam and depending on how the river changes with the increased flow possibly building artificial banks to create more of a channel and to prevent erosion.
- Do nothing.
Personally I think options 2 or 3 would be the best long term options, but when the price tags are compiled and presented; the public will get to weigh in with their thoughts to the management board.
In addition to the plethora of outdoor activities that attract people from all around the world to Bend, there is another attraction that has been drawing in crowds over recent years. That attraction is beer. With 16 breweries in Bend alone, and more in the other cities in Central Oregon, there is plenty to go around for a city of about 80,000 people. One of Visit Bend’s greatest ideas was the formation of the Bend Ale Trail. The idea of the Ale Trail was to highlight the breweries in the area and provide a “road map” for tourists to find these breweries. The current version of the Ale Trail Map has 9 breweries on it; Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel, Boneyard Beer, McMenimen’s, Silver Moon, Bend Brewing Co, Cascade Lakes Brewing, GoodLife Brewing, and Brew Werks. A new trail map is in the works with a few more breweries located on in including Bend’s newest breweries, Crux Fermentation, and Worthy Brewing. If you follow the Ale Trail map to all nine of the breweries and get a stamp from each in your passport, you can take your passport back to the Bend Visitor Center and get a prize.
Most people get their stamps over a period of several days, though I have known a few hardy people who got all nine in one day. If you are limited on time and attempt to get them all in one day, you don’t have to get a full size beer to get your stamp; you can just get a few samplers at each place. As for getting around on your day of drinking, there are several options to avoid having to track down a designated driver. In addition to a walking or taking a taxi, there are several small carter bus companies that you can reserve seats on that will travel to all the breweries on the Ale Trail; the Bend Brew Bus, the GETIT Shuttle, and the Bend Trolley. If you need some exercise to burn off the beer while you are on the trail you can always take the Cycle Pub, which is a 14 person pedal powered car/bike/bar.
If you enjoy craft beer, the Ale Trail is a great excuse to get out and sample the excellent breweries that we are fortunate to have in our city. After visiting all these breweries you may need to put in a few more miles out at Phil’s Trail to burn off all that beer.