Press release: Open house for information on Murphy/Parrell roundabout

City of BendIf you live in the southeast part of town, there is an open house meeting providing information about upcoming roundabout construction that will be taking place at the intersection of Murphy Road and Parrell Road. Here’s the release from the City:

To learn more about the upcoming roundabout construction at the Murphy Road/Parrell Road intersection and accompanying sewer work, the public is invited to an open house informational meeting from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 7, at Jewell Elementary School (at 20550 Murphy Road).

A large sewer collection pipe, primarily located underneath the existing Murphy Road, will redirect sewer ­flow from Third Street east toward 27th Street. Once the sewer line and utility relocation work is completed, a roundabout will be built to bring the intersection up to current standards. The project improves safety and mobility at this busy intersection.

Construction is anticipated to begin in January 2016 and run until the fall of 2016. In order to accommodate the difficult construction sewer line depths, the intersection will be closed and traffic detoured during this period.

The City’s open house is offered to inform residents and businesses of the details of the construction work. Staff will describe the elements of the project, including what may be expected during construction and how the intersection will be impacted.

Project information:

One of the key points here is construction will be taking place from this month though (at least!) the fall of this year.

Beer News: Oblivion Brewpub closed, Platypus Pub/Brew Shop has to move

Update: Ryan’s comment below about the Platypus is correct, I’ve updated accordingly.

Some less-than-stellar beer news items that came out in the past week to start the new year off with, both reported by the Bulletin:

Oblivion BrewingThe Oblivion Brewing Brewpub, which (was) located on Galveston Avenue on the westside next door to Versante Pizza, closed as of yesterday (the 31st). However it’s not quite as dire as it sounds—the Bulletin article sounded a bit like the brewing company itself was closing, which is not the case. Rather:

The partnership that created the pub — owner Jon Sargent and brewers Darin Butschy and Meghann Butschy — agreed to part ways, Sargent and Meghann Butschy said Tuesday. The pub will probably end its short run on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, Sargent said.

“We came to a mutual agreement, and that was fine,” he said. “I’m just wanting to get my stress level back to a normal situation. Even this week, we’ve been slammed; the lines were out the door. It’s not about not being successful; it’s about getting my old life back.”

The Butschys will turn their focus to a planned business expansion, and Sargent said: “I’m not going to lose anything; it’s a good story, to be honest.”

“The pub did phenomenal,” Meghann Butschy said. “It still is. It was packed last night. That’s not the issue. Sometimes the stress outweighs the money. We’re happy with Jon; if he wants to get out, that’s fine.”

Sargent said another, similar business is moving into the same space, but he declined to identify it, citing a nondisclosure agreement. He said all Oblivion restaurant employees, about 13, will have an opportunity to work with the new business.

Sargent will continue to operate Versante Pizza, his neighboring business in the same building as the Oblivion pub. The operation there is less complicated than a full-service restaurant, he said.

Ultimately, Oblivion should be expanding their brewing operations and you’ll see them on tap more places around town. As for the “similar business” taking over that brewpub space, I assume there is an announcement coming but it’s all rumors right now.

Platypus PubMeanwhile, in the center of town the Brew Shop and Platypus Pub will have to find a new location to move to, because the property owner wants to potentially demolish the building and put in new retail:

The owners of Platypus Pub and The Brew Shop, both located at 1203 NE Third St., are looking for a new home, said business co-owner Jeff Hawes.

Compass Commercial Real Estate Services is advertising space for lease in a potential retail development at the site, about two blocks north of NE Greenwood Avenue.

Russell Huntamer, a broker with Compass Commercial, said a preliminary site plan includes razing the existing structure, which has been a church and restaurant before becoming a pub and homebrewing supply and retail beer shop, to make way for new construction.

A “national coffee chain” had signed a letter of intent to lease part of the space shown as 1,850 square feet on a flier for the property. The plan shows 9,400 square feet of total new construction, a possible drive-thru window and a parking lot with room for 42 cars. The design is “very preliminary,” Huntamer said.

“It would definitely be an improvement for that corridor,” he said Dec. 15.

The real estate firm needs a sufficient number of prospective tenants to move the project forward, Huntamer said. He declined to name the coffee chain. Deals that would bring tenants to the prospective retail project are “still in process,” he said at the time.

The property was home to a Nazarene church, and in August 1976, Bend’s first French restaurant, Le Bistro, opened there, according to The Bulletin archives. Ernesto’s Italian Restaurant followed Le Bistro and remained at the location until 2008.

Platypus Pub

I talked with Jeff [co-owner] the other day and he told me they’d need to be out by the end of February, 2017 (13 months). No ideas yet on where they would move to, or if a potential space would even allow them to keep the Pub open.

Quick bit of disclosure: the owners of the Brew Shop and Platypus are friends, I buy beer making ingredients and equipment there, and they sell my book. So take this next bit of editorializing however you like it.

I think tearing down that building to build boxy, generic retail space is a terrible, terrible idea. That building itself, while not officially an historic space, is unique and has historic value to Bend, and the current tenants have done an amazing job with it between the beer and brewing supply shop on the main floor and the Platypus Pub space downstairs. Granted the parking isn’t the best (name a place on Third Street where the parking is good, though) but I don’t see how they can magically increase parking to 42 spaces unless they tear down an adjacent building (and remember the 2nd Street Theater shares the lot with it).

The days of the building being a church were before my time, but I ate at Le Bistro at least once, and of course ate there a number of times when it was Ernesto’s, which did such a great job with the basement bar that the Platypus continued. The building is (to me) interesting from an architectural viewpoint, with a distinctive look, and how can you not like the speakeasy feel of a basement pub? There is no way tearing it down for a boxy Walgreens-type development would “definitely be an improvement for that corridor” — quite the opposite.

So the Brew Shop and Platypus Pub will have to move, by the end of February 2017. Any ideas on where they should move to?

The new ice skating rink is open

Bend’s new ice rink, The Pavilion, opened for business yesterday over on Bend’s west side, off of Simpson Avenue. The Bulletin reported that over 800 skaters visited that first day. Through this week they will offer open skate on the following schedule:

Monday, December 28: 12:00 – 8:00 pm
Tuesday, December 29: 12:00 – 6:15 pm
Wednesday, December 30: 12:00 – 8:00 pm
Thursday, December 31: 12:00 – 10:00 pm
Friday, January 1: 1:00 – 8:00 pm
Saturday, January 2: 12:00 – 3:45 pm & 6:30 – 10:00 pm
Sunday, January 3: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Admission rates range from $7 for youth to $9 for adults, and skate rentals are $3.

Nice to see ice skating back in Bend proper (though I remember skating on frozen Shevlin Pond years ago) with the completion of The Pavilion. Will you be going?

Christmas Tree recycling with the Boy Scouts

Downtown Bend Christmas TreeIf you have a Christmas tree that you will need to dispose of, consider the Boy Scouts Christmas tree recycling program if you don’t do that already. For a modest donation of $5 to $8 they will come to your house to pick up your tree (that you’ve left outside) on one of the two next weekends—you just have to call to arrange the pick-up day.

Here’s the press release with details:

Your local Boy Scout troops are excited to begin the collection and recycling of Christmas trees in your community the weekends of on January 2nd & 3rd and again on the 9th and 10th. We request a donation of $5- $8 but will gladly accept any donation over that amount. All the money raised from the boys’ efforts goes directly to the individual Scout troops. Your donation is used to fund local troop activities, community service projects and to replace worn out camping and other outdoor gear that the boys use throughout the year.

Individual troops in your area will post door flyers specifying which days they will be picking up trees in your neighborhood. If you live within the City limits of Bend or Redmond you do not need to call to have your tree picked up. Other cities and areas of the County have their contact phone numbers listed below. Please have your tree cleaned of all decorations and place it on the edge of your property by the street where it is easily visible to Scouts and drivers. We will not be checking alleys. Place your donation in a plastic bag and secure it to the tree with a rubber band. Please make your check out to ‘Boy Scouts of America’ or as specified on the door flyer within your area. The troops will be cruising the area picking up trees starting around 9am.

If you did not receive a door flyer, wish to make other payment options, need special assistance with your tree or have general questions; please call and/or leave a message at the messaging phone number for your area. A special Thank You goes out to Centratel which has generously donated this voicemail message service for the last couple of years –

  • 541 385-3977 for pick up in SW Bend. West of 3rd St and South of Newport/Greenwood
  • 541 385-2692 for pick up in NW Bend. West of 3rd St and North of Newport/Greenwood
  • 541 385-2672 for pick up in NE Bend. East of 3rd St and North of Greenwood/Hwy 20
  • 541 385-3942 for pick up in SE Bend. East of 3rd St and South of Greenwood/Hwy 20
  • 541 385-3971 for pick up in La Pine
  • 541 385-3989 for pick up in Redmond
  • 541 385-2640 for pick up in Sisters
  • 541 385-3935 for pick up in Sunriver

Make sure to call sooner rather than later to make sure you get in the schedule!

Gift Guide 2015: Museum Memberships

One thing I found while writing my book on Bend’s beer history was definitely a greater appreciation for our local museums. Both the High Desert Museum and the Deschutes Historical Museum are terrific organizations that offer fascinating glimpses into the history, environment, and culture of our region, and annual memberships in either (or both) would make a great gift for Christmas!

High Desert MuseumDeschutes Historical Museum

The High Desert Museum offers individual memberships for $60 per year, with other options available, and members receive the following benefits:

  • Unlimited Museum admission for an entire year
  • A 10% discount on admission for guests
  • Exclusive invitations to special events and activities
  • A 10% discount at Silver Sage Trading (20% on special days)
  • Discounts on Museum classes, lectures and workshops
  • A subscription to the Desert Sage Newsletter (quarterly)
  • Email updates on upcoming events
  • An exclusive Members-Only Event

They even have a handy gift form so you can order your gift membership right online.

The Deschutes Historical Museum membership is only $20 per year for individuals, which offers you free admission to the Museum for a year, guest passes, and their monthly newsletter. This was very useful for me when I was doing research for the book! And like the other form, you can purchase a membership directly online (through Paypal).

Gift Guide 2015: Handmade coffee mugs from Mug Revolution

Continuing recommendations for holiday gift shopping—we’re only one week from Christmas as of today! So what do you drink on Christmas morning—coffee, hot chocolate, some combo, something spiked? How about drinking it out of a handmade coffee mug from Mug Revolution?

Mug Revolution handmade coffee mugs

The coffee mugs at Mug Revolution are handmade in Bend, Oregon by Owen Dearing, a studio potter since 1990. Each of Owen’s coffee mugs is wheel-thrown, and when the clay is leather-hard, a hand-pulled handle is attached to the mug’s body. Once the coffee mugs are completely dry, they are fired in an electric kiln.

Because Mug Revolution’s mugs are fired to such a high temperature, each coffee mug is extremely durable and chip resistant. The sturdy handles are very comfortable for holding a hot cup of tea or coffee. Should you reheat your coffee or tea in the microwave, the handle on the mug will not get hot under normal circumstances. No need to wash the mugs by hand – they have no problems going through the dishwasher.

I can personally attest to the durability and quality of these mugs—I’ve been drinking my coffee out of my Ignite Bend mug pretty much every day for the past 4+ years.

You can order mugs directly online, both “mainstay” mugs and custom mugs; the site notes:

Classic Mugs are still available for delivery in the USA by Christmas. In-stock mugs ordered by 4 p.m. PST ship same day, otherwise will ship the next business day.

There’s still time to get mugs in time for Christmas! Last day to order mugs in time for Christmas delivery is Monday December 21, according to the Post Office. All Mug Revolution mugs ship via Priority Mail for USA addresses.

And if you want to order a custom mug, that takes time; if you get your order in for a custom mug by January 18, 2016, then the ship date will be February 8. So it’s a bit of a wait, but the custom mugs are pretty cool, and worth it!