BendVisit Bend awards 9 Sustainability Fund grants totaling $1.45 million for tourism-related...

Visit Bend awards 9 Sustainability Fund grants totaling $1.45 million for tourism-related projects

Visit Bend awards 9 Sustainability Fund grants totaling .45 million for tourism-related projects

Range from Big Sky BMX improvements to trail signs, river access, Warm Springs Commissary Pavilion

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Visit Bend’s Board of Directors has approved nine grants totaling $1.45 million for a wide variety of tourism-related projects around Central Oregon.   

The grants will be issued through the Bend Sustainability Fund, which reinvests transient room tax dollars into projects that protect, steward or create sustainable experiences in Bend and the surrounding community, Tuesday’s announcement said. 

The following projects are set to receive grants in the 2022 funding cycle:

  • The Bend BMX Improvements Project from Bend BMX will receive a one-year grant for $80,897. Funds are earmarked for track improvements and the installation of new perimeter fencing, helping to make Big Sky Bike Park a premier destination for BMX.
  • The Cascades Community Theatre Restoration and Upgrades Project from Cascades Theatrical Company will receive a one-year grant of $45,000 for renovations and upgrades to the theater. The project will create a larger space for productions, provide new educational opportunities, and welcome larger and more diverse audiences from the community and beyond.
  • The Dutchman/Swampy Trail Signage Improvements Project from Central Oregon Nordic Club will receive a one-year grant of $38,900 to be used for the installation of new and upgraded trailhead kiosks and informational signage at four Sno-Parks along the Cascade Lakes Highway. These improvements will provide valuable information about terrain, user expectations, and safety. Boulder placement at Dutchman Sno-Park will keep the Bend Municipal Watershed free of motorized vehicles. 
  • The Wanoga Mountain Bike Hub Development from Central Oregon Trail Alliance will receive a two-year grant for $172,418* for the development of a robust mountain bike hub at the Wanoga Sno-Park, including a refurbished pump track and four new downhill trails. The hub will fulfill frequent requests for more enduro-style trails, providing terrain for a variety of riders, including people who ride adaptive mountain bikes. *$157,418 of this award is contingent on final NEPA approval.
  • The Catalyst Project from Petrich Properties will receive $450,000* in total, divided over a two-year grant, aimed at creating a safe, vibrant, and open-to-the-public gathering space in the core of the Bend Central District. The Catalyst hub will activate the northeast corridor at 2nd Street and Hawthorne, fostering tourism, community building, and inclusion. *This Funding is contingent upon building permit approval by the City of Bend.
  • The Museum at Warm Springs Exterior Restoration Project fromThe Museum at Warm Springs will receive a two-year grant of $260,000. When complete, this project will provide Museum visitors with a unique, interpretive experience in the Warm Springs natural environment. The enhancements will ensure a safe and secure natural area to park, picnic, walk, view flora/fauna, and experience Shi-tike Creek, a site of immense historical and cultural significance within the homelands of the Warm Springs people.
  • The Riverbend South Access and Restoration Project from Upper Deschutes Watershed Council will receive a one-year grant for $142,565 to restore habitat along the Deschutes River at Riverbend Park by creating three new river access points and limiting future degradation. These access points will be coupled with interpretive signage to educate users about the river and natural resources. 
  • The Royal Flush Trail Completion Project from the U.S. Forest Service will receive a one-year grant for $10,220 allowing for the completion of the entirety of the Royal Flush Trail and enhanced trailhead parking options. 
  • The Warm Springs Commissary Pavilion Project from Warm Springs Community Action Team will receive a one-year grant of $250,000 to help construct the Pavillon and restore the historic Commissary. These facilities will offer art, food, and education on tribal history and the scenic landscape of theWarm Springs Reservation, creating an economic engine for new small business.

“I’m overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of projects submitted, and the engagement of our community in selecting grant recipients,” explained Serena Gordon, Visit Bend’s Sustainability Manager. “We look forward to our community and visitors benefiting from the reinvestment of these restricted transient room tax dollars into areas that make this a great place to live and visit.”

On top of the grants listed above, five additional $500 grants will go to projects picked by voters in the community ballot phase of the granting cycle. The chosen recipients are Bend BMX ($500), Cascades Theatrical Company ($1,000), Central Oregon Nordic Club ($500), and Warm Springs Community Action Team ($500).

The Warm Springs Community Action Team (WSCAT) was one of the groups with a project approved for funding. Commissary General Manager Starla Green of the Warm Springs Community Action Team said this project serves as a symbol of self-determination. “We are proud to partner with Bend Sustainability Fund to create a beautiful modern tourism destination out of a 125-year old former government storehouse in Warm Springs,” Green said. “This project represents transformation and hope, and turns a symbol of government oppression into a place of entrepreneurship and growth.” 

Another project funded is The Catalyst. Organized by Petrich Properties, The Catalyst will create meeting space and retail opportunities that transform Bend’s Central District’s into a hub of activity.  “Creating this mixed-use development will add energy and vitality to one of Bend’s most under-invested districts,” explained Kurt Alexander, President of the Bend Central District and developer of The Catalyst. “By creating this cultural hub where visitors and community members can gather, the Bend Sustainability Fund shows tremendous leadership and long-term thinking.”

Since the inception of the Bend Sustainability Fund, $2,290,000 has been awarded to 17 projects.

Projects eligible for consideration are required to protect, steward, or create a tourism-related facility with an impactful life of at least 10 years and offer substantial use by visitors. 

To learn more about the projects funded by The Bend Sustainability Fund or to apply for the 2023 grant cycle, visit or email

About Visit Bend:

Visit Bend is a non-membership, non-profit economic development organization dedicated to promoting tourism responsibly on behalf of the City of Bend. We’re a leading provider of information on Bend, Oregon hotels, restaurants, activities, and Oregon vacation planning. To learn more or to order a complimentary Official Visitor Guide to Bend, contact Visit Bend at 1-800-949-6086 or visit

The post Visit Bend awards 9 Sustainability Fund grants totaling $1.45 million for tourism-related projects appeared first on KTVZ.
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