The City of Bend will be removing four water fountains in the downtown area on the mornings of Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2. Work will be completed prior to start of business hours on those days.
City utilities crews will cut connections to the underground water lines, remove the drinking fountains and repair the resulting holes in the sidewalk.
After the Downtown Bend Business Association asked the City to repair the broken fountains, the City discovered that the fountains were not an asset that the City wanted to repair or maintain.
The fountains’ connections to the City’s water lines had not been upgraded in accordance with changing regulations. Bringing the fountains up to modern plumbing standards and providing ongoing maintenance was not a planned expense. Also, since the fountains are not metered, the water is unaccounted for, which shifts the cost of that water to the rest of the City’s water utility rate payers. Finally, without necessary upgrades and ongoing maintenance, the City couldn’t guarantee the high standard of water quality that we’re committed to providing.
The City recognizes that drinking fountains are an asset. The City will work with the Downtown Bend Business Association to identify whether water fountains are an amenity that downtown shoppers, restaurant goers and employees want. If fountains are determined to be a necessary amenity, the City will investigate how to get new fountains downtown.
“When it comes to drinking fountains downtown, clearly, having safe drinking water for Bendites and visitors is the most important factor,” said Rod Porsche, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. “The City of Bend has kept our organization informed throughout the process and the DBBA has stressed the importance of a return of safe downtown drinking fountains in the future. Working with the City, we will make it a priority to achieve this goal.”