We were excited to watch as the Bend City Council voted in favor of creating the urban renewal district in the core of Bend, advancing the vision of the Bend Central District (BCD). Ashley & Vance’s Bend office is located at a gentrifying crossroads between historic downtown and the central district subarea. The central district was once on the eastern edge of town and industrial uses dominated this area next to the railroad tracks and as Bend expanded, automotive-oriented development took precedence. Now, this area is in the heart of our growing city, yet has fewer than one resident per acre. Our interests in community development led us to search for ways to contribute our skills as engineers to the improvement of this neighborhood. In the recent years, we have contributed dozens of hours hosting design charrettes, analyzing street sections, stormwater improvements, underpasses and overpasses, attending outreach events, and finding out that there are some amazing residents who share our love for the heart of Bend. As our Bend team started to outgrow our humble house-turned-office, we had to choose if we were going to invest in our current location, or move to another commercial building. We chose to stay and build, because, hey, urban infill is the future of the heart of Bend. (and, we were pretty sure we had the skills to squeeze a 3500 SF mixed-use building onto this historic urban lot… Who better to try then a bunch of motivated engineers? 😉 We’ve watched this neighborhood struggle forward with baby-steps, facing some major headwinds of re-development due to infrastructure needs and lack of system development funding. We supported Bend’s Urban Renewal Advisory Board when they recommended helping with urban renewal funding and cheered along with the other advocates when Bend’s City Council voted in favor last night. Cheers to smart growth and good design!