The city of Bend is currently in the planning stages for a new sewer system. This new infrastructure is being set up with help from the community.
With more than 300 in service, Bend has more sewer pumps than any city in Oregon. This is due to its rapid growth and leaders have recognized the old system is inefficient. The city is working with a citizen panel to cut costs on original plans. The 17-member Sewer Infrastructure Advisory Group, or SIAG, includes doctors, engineers and rate payers. Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore says the panel has been helpful.
“We really aimed at being as transparent as possible and I think some of the folks on the SIAG probably got a little bit more than what they were hoping for because we do get extremely technical, but it’s been extremely helpful to have this group thinking through these things and helping us set up the model.”
Skidmore estimates that the SIAG would save the city more than $40 million over previous models. The group is set to present their initial findings to the Bend City Council on December 4th. Skidmore says that while smaller parts of the project have already begun, the system overhaul won’t begin for at least another year.