Deschutes South Canyon Use Survey – Executive Summary

The Deschutes South Canyon Use Survey was written and conducted by three Neighborhood Associations: Southwest Bend, Southern Crossing, and Century West. The purpose of the survey was to learn how people in their neighborhoods and across the City of Bend use and value the Deschutes South Canyon.

The property (~140 acres) is owned by the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID) and currently under contract to be sold to a developer. The land is heavily used as a de facto park with thousands of people accessing trails, both major and minor, for a multitude of recreational activities.

METHODOLOGY: The survey was developed using a web platform, SurveyPlanet, and comprised 23 questions. The survey received 2,039 responses while it was open between March 30 and June 1, 2022. Outreach was conducted to inform the public of the survey, including communication with all 13 Neighborhood Associations and a media press release which spurred an interview on Channel 21 KTVZ as well as articles in the Bend Bulletin and The Source Weekly. Neighborhood Associations publicized the survey in various ways, including newsletters, postcard mailers, and websites.

RESPONDENTS: 93% of the respondents were full-time residents of Bend. Remarkably, all the full time residents knew which Neighborhood Association they belonged to, with over 56% of respondents coming from the two adjacent neighborhoods (Southwest Bend and Southern Crossing) and the remainder distributed fairly evenly across the remaining 11 neighborhoods. Respondents were from all age groups, with the plurality age group being 60-69 (24%) followed closely by those 40-49 (22%). The majority (62%) of respondents are in Bend's active workforce (unretired).

USAGE: 94% of respondents (both residents and non-residents) use the South Canyon property, and 62% of respondents use it weekly or more often. The largest proportion of respondents use it 3 to 5 times a week, indicating heavy usage. The most common activities were walking, running, relaxation in nature, dog-walking, and wildlife viewing. Interestingly, the trails on the property facilitate the commute of 19% of respondents, and another 17% would use the trails for commuting if they were integrated into the Bend parks trail system.

ACCESS: A majority of respondents (71%) always or usually access the property on foot or by bike, and the 8 points of entry are relatively evenly used. Of those who drive to the property, most use Blakely Park for parking.

ATTITUDES: A large majority of respondents (78% positively, 15% possibly) would support this property becoming a new natural area park, similar to Shevlin Park and 81% support the use of BPRD funds to purchase it. Remarkably, 72% of respondents would support a bond measure to help fund this.