Editorial: Mirror Pond decision requires focus on dam

If the community wants to preserve Bend’s Mirror Pond, it all comes down to the dam. Will Pacific Power maintain it? If not, is there any way for the community to take it over or otherwise preserve its pond-creating effect?

If the answer to both of those questions is no, options to save the pond in its traditional form are severely limited.

Yet both the park district and the power company report they haven’t tried to find those answers, because they’re waiting to see what the community wants.

They supposedly will learn about the community’s desires today when survey results are presented to a joint meeting of the Bend City Council and the Bend Park & Recreation District board.

But today’s presentation won’t actually tell them what residents prefer; it will tell them only what a few self-selected people think. An unscientific survey will be offered, and may be interpreted as meaning far more than it does.

The park district’s Mirror Pond Project Manager, Jim Figurski, and Pacific Power’s Regional Community Manager, Angela Price, say they will consider the questions about the dam only once this process tells them what the community wants.

That’s backwards, because the community can’t know what it wants, or what it’s willing to pay for, unless it knows the dam’s future.

Figurski said he expects the council and park board to identify a preferred option by the end of the month. Then the work starts on the details of how it could be accomplished and at what cost.

We’ve argued repeatedly for preserving Mirror Pond, but the future of the dam is critical. It would be foolish to spend millions dredging the pond if the dam that makes it possible has a short-term future. We hope the decision-makers will put the survey results in proper perspective and demand real information before narrowing the options.