By Dusty Trails
I’ll let you in on a secret. One of my favorite places in Bend is the “Lodestar” roundabout on the hill at the intersection of Bond Street and Reed Market Road. The other day, I was driving back to the West side of town after running some errands when I came to this roundabout as the sun was setting over Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters. I could see the sparkling Deschutes River running through Farewell Bend Park covered in floating ice and flying geese against the orange backdrop of the cliffs.
The art chosen for this particular site is a rounded copper-colored sculpture, which frames each mountain as you circle it. It’s almost worth an extra lap around to take in the whole view. It is at this moment in my busy day that I can take a breath and gain a renewed sense of gratitude for the beautiful city I live in.
Whether you’re a visitor or a local, you’ve probably noticed by now that roundabouts have become a staple of Bend’s driving habits and culture. In fact, it’s easy to tell who’s not from around here by their improper and confused roundabout etiquette. But I digress. Except for the rare occurrences when we encounter a visitor driving them in the wrong direction, most Bendites embrace them as gas-saving alternatives to traffic signals and four-ways stops.
Always a popular topic of conversation is roundabout art. The most controversial is undoubtedly “Phoenix Rising” (or the “Flaming Chicken,” as we like to call it) on 14th Street and Galveston. Roundabout art is even featured as its own tour. The Bend Visitors Center provides maps of the 20 roundabout sculptures in the city, and you can even win a prize if you answer all the trivia questions correctly. So when you’re done exploring in the mountains for the day, feel free to explore the city…by roundabout.