Bend, Can We Move the Railroad? What about the Switchyards?

Since the release of the five-year Vision Action Plan, Envision Bend has been working to bring the 28 strategies listed in the plan to life. One of the most challenging projects is titled ‘Railroad Safety & Redevelopment’ This is labeled as the ‘Game Changer’ strategy in the Guiding our Growth & Development section of the plan. In the 17 months of outreach, Envision Bend heard many community comments to ‘move the railroad’ outside of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The leading reasons stated were increased traffic and public safety.

“As a member of the Vision Action Team, we looked at this community idea and knew that if we moved the railroad east it would become a future Bend problem. So we said, ‘What about moving the switching yards outside of town?’”.  – James Dorofi, Envision Bend Board Member and Chair of the Old Farm District Neighborhood Association

There are two switchyards in Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary—central and south. The south switchyard from Murphy Road runs north nearly a mile to Reed Market Road. The central switchyard extends nearly two miles from where it crosses 3rd Street up along Hwy 97 to Bulter Market Road. 

Moving the BNSF south and central switchyards will require federal-level action. But with limited land in the UGB and large connectivity challenges, finding a creative solution that matches the needs of our community today and in the coming decades is critical to help us manage our growth. How can public safety and traffic concerns be turned into a community resource to increase safety, connectivity, public art, and commerce? 

Join Envision Bend and lead partners on June 27th for an exciting conversation on the ‘Railroad Safety and Redevelopment’ vision strategy. Meet at Bevel Craft Brewing (911 SE Armour Rd) from 4:30-6:00 p.m. to learn more, share your feedback, and join the conversation. It’s free and family-friendly! We will have a kid zone set up.