A new committee expected to recommend a final plan for the future of Mirror Pond met behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon, potentially violating Oregon’s public meetings law.
Mirror Pond Project Manager Jim Figurski said the committee needs to meet in private in order to discuss issues such as real estate transactions. Bend City Councilor Mark Capell and park board Chairman Scott Wallace said they also need to meet in private to discuss options with Pacific Power, the utility that owns the Newport Avenue dam that created Mirror Pond.
Officials have for years been discussing how to manage the buildup of silt in the Mirror Pond section of the Deschutes River.
There was no published notice of the Tuesday meeting, and no published agenda was provided. Park district employees told members of the media they could not attend the meeting.
Nathan Rietmann, an attorney in Salem who successfully sued Lane County on behalf of citizens who believed county commissioners had violated public meetings law, said the closed-door meeting appeared to violate Oregon law.
The committee includes two Bend city councilors, two park board members, parks Executive Director Don Horton, Bend Community Development Director Mel Oberst, and as many as three citizens who have not yet been selected. After the meeting on Tuesday, Capell said the committee, which was assigned to select and refine a final plan for the pond’s future, was simply meeting to get answers to some outstanding questions surrounding the project, and park board member Ted Schoenborn said the committee was not going to “pick out an alternative (for Mirror Pond).”
For more on the Mirror Pond meeting and Oregon’s public meetings law, pick up a copy of The Bulletin on Wednesday.