#41 Hillside II Park – Saginaw Ave.

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Hillside (II) Park is on the corner of 12th Street and Saginaw Ave., across the road from Hillside (I) Park. The parking is street parking, and probably bothers the neighbors when the park is busy.

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The Park is much like I expected after reading the description on the Bend Parks and Rec website. I was sad to see that there were no picnic tables, which was the only amenity the website listed. There are no bathrooms, doggie stations, play structures or garbage cans. If you plan on doing anything in this park, be prepared to bring all your own equipment, and pack everything out when you leave. If you get in a bind, you can take the walk to Hillside I park for facilities.

Because the park is so close to the road, my husband and I debated the safety rating. If you have a wandering child I could keep a close eye on them. The traffic is not heavy, but it still worries the helicopter parent in me.

What this park does have going for it is the immaculately manicured grounds. There are plenty of trees for shade, and also plenty of sunny areas. When we arrived there was only one couple enjoying themselves in the sun. I get the feeling this may not be a very popular park, which makes it a great spot for a romantic picnic.


 

Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 1
Safety: 4
Fun: 1

Overall Score: 2.8

Hillside II park offers nothing unique, though it is another beautiful romantic vista. Without any play structure, it may be hard to entertain children without bringing in your own equipment. There is no equipment in this park at all.

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#36 Gardenside Park – Darla Place

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Gardenside Park is an unknown gem on the east side of bend. Nestled in the center of a tight-knit subidivision, Gardenside park is beautiful park. There is street parking, that seems rather limited. Gardenside Park is definitely meant as an area for the local residents.

We have been to this park twice now, and both times we have gotten a feeling that we are intruders. The residents in this area are not used to visitors to their neighborhood park, even though it is a public park ran by the Bend Parks and Rec district. I also find some of the residences are not very tolerant of children with special needs, especially needs that come with neurodiverse behavior. Although it is not the park’s fault, I do not think I will bring my family back to this park, because we felt so unwelcome.

The front of some houses come right out onto the park area. If you child is very curious, or tends to wander, you may want to make sure they aren’t tempted to play with the toys in someone’s yard.

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The play structure is large, with plenty of shade in the middle for a warm summer day. Even though there is one play structure, it seems to be split into activities that appeal to different age ranges. There are two regular swings and two infant swings. There are also a couple ride-ables. The dark green paint on the slides and the ride-ables did make them very warm on a summer day. I would not suggest this park in the middle of warm summer days.

There is decent seating around the play area, which is nice for resting while your children play.

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Gardenside Park has a large picnic structure, which would seat 20-25 people comfortably. Because of the, tight-knit nature of the neighborhood, I don’t know if I would recommending using this park structure without first reserving the space through the Bend Parks and Rec Office.

The park also has plenty of grassy area, especially for a smaller property.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 4
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 2

This park’s overall score is not a direction reflection of it’s individual scores. Gardenside Park is a beautiful park in the middle of a serene subdivision. The play structure is unique. The park in general provides the local children plenty of fun. The residents of the subdivision seem to be protective of this park, and not very welcoming to “visitors.” Although this park is a public area maintained by the Bend Park and Rec Department, I would treat it like the private park of a private community. If you have a child with special needs, I would also avoid this park unless you are a resident of the surrounding subdivision.


 

 

#16 Riverview Park – Division Street

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We drive by this park often, as it is near our house. I also used to work in the building right next to the park. This park would not have been very fun for our four year old, so pulling it from the jar was never our favorite idea. We decided today to stop by on our way to run errands. My husband and son stayed in the car while I took a quick look. This park has a small parking lot, that can fit three or four cars. There is a porta-potty in the parking lot.

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The path from the parking lot to the river’s edge is paved. Along it are a couple of picnic benches. This could be a nice, quiet place to bring a picnic lunch, maybe a romantic getaway?

This park has no play area, no large picnic structure, not doggie stations.

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What this park does have going for is it’s small riverside boardwalk. It has two sections that go out unto the river. The geese must be very used to people feeding them from these platforms, because I had quite the audience when I arrived. The railing are high enough I would feel comfortable with my son not getting into the water. This would make an amazing place to feed some wildlife. (Though, I would not recommend this. Feeding the local fowl encourages them to stay through the winter. The geese and ducks have become rather domesticated because the locals and tourists feed them so much.)

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A few things about this park concerned me. One was a sign for a waterfowl nesting area. It gives very clear instructions to avoid that area and to not disturb the wildlife. I can personally attest to the aggressive nature of swans. I have pictures of me as a child being chased by them. I do find it odd that this is one of the few areas next to the river that does not have a fence around it. I would be worried my son would disturb this wild life. I also spotted quite a few rocks begging to claimed and jumped off of. I know I would spend most of my park time keeping my son off these rocks, making for a pretty miserable time for all involved.

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I did find the landscape a little under cared for. It’s possible that the Bend Park’s and Rec have kept the landscape for this park minimal on purpose. I think some focus on the landscape around the area could do wonders for making this park a safe haven for couples. The website also mentions that you can fish off the boardwalk here. I don’t know if I have ever heard of anyone having a lot of luck fishing inside the city limits, but I suppose it’s doable.

All and all, this park gets bad numbers all around. I can imagine some kids enjoying feeding the ducks, but there are plenty of other more beautiful parks for this activity.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 1
Condition: 3
Amenities: 2
Safety: 3
Fun: 2

Overall Score: 2

This park has very little to offer anyone. Children and adults may enjoy feeding the geese and ducks from the boardwalk. You can also fish from here. There are some landscape features that would make for tempting rock climbing and jumping, which can potentially be dangerous. There are just a couple picnic tables in this park, but it could make for a good couple’s retreat. Over all, I suggest skipping this park.


 

 

#14 Brooks Park – Drake Road

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Across the river from Drake Park, on the other end of the Newport Bridge is Brooks Park. We did not pull this park from the jar, we cheated. We were on our way to Harmon Park and I decided to stop in.

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Brooks Park is home to the Bend Heroes Memorial, which was dedicated on Veteran’s Day 2009. It is a beautiful memorial to all the local heroes who have given their lives to  protect their country, and their city. I was surprised to see that a few rows of the flowers in the front of the memorial had dried up and were starting to die. I was also struck by the large amount of bees around the flowers, which could cause concerns for families with members who are allergic.

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The grassy area takes up the rest of the park. There are two picnic benches and one regular bench. I agree with the Park and Rec website that it would make a perfect place for lunch and a view of the river, as long as it’s not too crowded. There is only street parking on one side. I was unable to get a picture but there is a great little dock for river access here. There is no fence keeping little kiddos out of the water, which may cause some parents headaches. I did see a doggie station. I did not see a water fountain, and there are definitely no bathrooms.

I also get a distinct feeling that the neighbors keep a tight watch on this park. My family was eyeballed pretty heavily, especially when I started taking pictures. I don’t hold this against the park. If you have irrational fears of being followed or watched, I would skip this park though.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 2
Condition: 4
Amenities: 2
Safety: 3
Fun: 2

Overall Score: 2.5

This is another case of having to compare this park apples to apples with others. The Bend Heroes memorial is astonishingly beautiful, and is a must see for anyone. This is not a park for family fun, however. With the exception of the river access, there is not much here to keep a family entertained. I was saddened to see that some of the flowers in the memorial were not being well taken care off, an there was a large amount of bees. This park is right next to a very busy and popular street.


 

#9 Pacific Community Park – Pacific Park Lane

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We made a quick stop to this park. We had a beautiful engagement picture taking here once a few years ago. Although it is not a place that we really think is a good idea for our son, we know it has its charms.

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Nostalgia aside, this park is not going to get very high praise for us. Pacific Community Park is one of those “parks” that really just makes unusable space pretty, but really isn’t much of a park. There is no play structure, or amenities in general. It is a leg in the Deschutes River Trail.

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Because of it’s direct river access, this park makes us very nervous with our son. It also makes it a great place to fish.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 1
Condition: 5
Amenities: 1
Safety: 3
Fun: 2

Overall Score: 2.5

Pardon the low scores, we must be true to the vision. The Bend Parks and Rec site is really honest about what this park is good for. It’s a good place to fish, or enjoy a sack lunch. It’s not going to entertain children, unless they are maybe older. It does connect to a section of the Deschutes River Trail.