Bend residents are taking the first steps to decide Mirror Pond’s future. Should the dam go? Should the pond be dredged? Should the community do nothing, or is there a better choice?
If you want to have a say in the process, now is the time to get involved. The steering committee for the pond has established a questionnaire to identify options to present to the community.
The questionnaire has been up only a short time at www.mirror pond.info. There are already some 350 responses.
It’s not a scientific poll, but Don Horton, the executive director of the Bend Park & Recreation District, says the purpose is to get as many people involved in the process as possible.
Public meetings are planned for February. Jim Figurski, the Mirror Pond project manager employed by the park district, is also going to be speaking to various community groups. In March and April, a consultant will come up with a series of options with cost estimates.
Then there will be another round of outreach to pick a preferred option. It should be chosen by June.
Paying for the chosen option is only one significant issue.
What is the future of the dam? Representatives from Pacific Power, the dam’s owner, have repeatedly said they want to find out what the community wants first before making decisions about its future. But what Pacific Power does with the hydroelectric dam is obviously fundamental to any choice. It doesn’t make any sense to spend millions dredging if Pacific Power wants to give up the dam.
There’s also the issue of the ownership of the land under the pond. About 90 percent of it belongs to the McKay family, whose ancestors shaped Bend’s development. The family wants liability protection if there is a dredging operation. That’s so they wouldn’t be forced to pay to clean up the dredged material, if it is found to be contaminated. It’s not clear how much that protection might cost.
Mirror Pond has been a central feature of Bend since 1910. Make your voice count and fill out the questionnaire.