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Part of Bend-Belluno Youth Exchange "Team" at Dedication

August 12, 2015

Bend - Belluno Sister Cities Plaque Dedication

Scheduled In Old Mill District Tuesday evening, August 12, at 6:30pm in the Old Mill District, next to Greg’s Grille and across from REI, the Bend-Belluno Sister City Committee will host a community celebration of Bend's sister city relationship with Belluno, Italy.

Highlighting the event will be an unveiling of the Belluno Bella Bend plaque to commemorate Bend's international relationship.   The plaque was designed through a collaborative effort by Bend Architect Neal Huston and Belluno Architects John Helm and Luisa Melacini.  Helm is originally from Sisters, Oregon.  His wife Luisa is from Belluno and they live full time in Italy.  

The plaque's permanent location is donated by Bill Smith of William Smith Properties and is located in the Old Mill District.

Another highlight of the evening will be a celebration of the first youth exchange between the two communities and those 10 students will participate in the unveiling of the plaque.  This two-month cross cultural exchange is not a tourist exchange but a reciprocal exchange allowing students to be a part of the community actually living the culture of Belluno/Bend.  

In June five students from Bend flew to Venice, Italy and were greeted by five families from Belluno plus members of the Belluno Rotary Club.  Each of Bend's young ambassadors were matched with an exchange brother or sister and spent a month in Belluno with their host families. Following their four week Italian experience, these five students returned to Bend with their Belluno exchange brother/sisters.  As a reciprocal exchange, the five Bend students and their families are serving as hosts during August. This two-month cross cultural exchange is a result of a joint effort between the Bend-Belluno Sister City Committee and the Rotary Club of Greater Bend.

The Bend-Belluno sister city relationship is part of a larger international effort to match like communities from different cultures and countries.  Bend's relationship with Belluno, Italy was formally established in 2011 with the city government agreeing to support the international sister city goals.

In the last three years a number of tourists from Bend have stopped by to visit and discover Belluno.  Just 45 minutes from Venice and at the foot of the Dolomites, Belluno offers an authentic Italian city experience in many ways similar to Bend.  In the same period a few Belluno students have spent month long individual exchanges each volunteering in the Bend community. The Bend Belluno sister city relationship has enjoyed a growing community support and the plaque dedication will offer an opportunity for Bend to celebrate its relationship with Belluno.

Part of Bend-Belluno Youth Exchange "Team" at Dedication

Ex-Mayor Oran Teater speaking at dedication

The Bend Belluno Sister City Committee is supported by Kathy Eckman’s Bend Sister City Foundation and numerous community members. Here are photos of plaque construction and dedication. Neal Huston is the "force" behind the design and construction in collaboration with John Helms and Luisa Melacini from Belluno. Actual fabrication was done by Andrew Wachs of Welt Design Studio. Logo design was created by Tenley Sutton and Georell Bracelin of GB2 Design.  Design review team in Bend Trish Smith, Janie Teater, Cate O'Hagan, Elicia Putnam and Doug LaPlaca. Pictured in top photo is Neal Huston and Andrew Wachs plus Roger Kryzanek from Bend-Belluno Sister City Committee.

Dedication of City Plaque for Bend Sister City

Dedication of Plaque 

Part of Bend-Belluno Youth Exchange "Team" at Dedication

Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural Exchange