- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

BEND, Ore. (AP) - It could be almost another month until the Bend Whitewater Park is ready for opening day.

Bend Park & Recreation District officials now think it will be mid-to-late September before the safe passage and whitewater play areas will be ready for local floaters and paddlers. The district had been aiming to complete the project in late August.

Chelsea Schneider, a landscape architect helping manage the project for the district, said it has encountered unexpected delays. Some metal railings for the new footbridge over the river were bent during installation, she said, and replacements are being built.

Parts to complete a fence protecting the riparian areas along the edge of the safe passage channel are back-ordered, Schneider said. She said the district expects a lot of foot traffic once the area is opened - much of McKay Park will remain closed until next year - and the fence is needed to keep visitors from trampling delicate vegetation.

The computer system that will control the inflatable bladders used to direct water to the safe passage or whitewater channel and create standing waves in the whitewater channel should be installed next week, Schneider said, and the district has hired a new employee to run the equipment and oversee day-to-day operations at the whitewater park.

While floaters and boaters will still have to wait, osprey began enjoying improvements in the area this week.

Five 65-foot-high wooden poles have been erected to entice the birds, two on the Miller’s Landing side of the river and three on the McKay Park side.

Four of the poles are “perch poles,” providing a high spot from which the birds can survey the landscape, while one will be topped with a slightly lower platform suitable for building a nest.

Schneider said wildlife experts working with the park district said the combination of perch poles and the one platform could entice osprey to resume nesting in the area, something not seen for about three years.

“What we’ve been told by the biologists is the parents want a way to keep away from the kids but still keep an eye on them,” she said.

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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