Officials plan Mirror Pond counteroffer

Discussions slowed in summer, might soon ramp up

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin / @hborrud


Published Aug 13, 2014 at 12:02AM / Updated Aug 13, 2014 at 06:36AM

Bend officials said Tuesday that although they have not held a public meeting since May on the fate of Mirror Pond, they are still working on a solution.

Scott Wallace, chairman of the Bend Park & Recreation District board of directors, said Tuesday that the district is working on a counteroffer to acquire the dam, which created Mirror Pond, from its current owner, PacifiCorp. The utility, which operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, presented a proposal this year to transfer ownership of the dam to the park district, but neither the company nor local officials have provided details of that offer.

“I think there has not been another meeting with Pacific Power because we wanted to do a little more background work on our own, before coming back,” Wallace said. “They made a proposal to us several months ago ... and we have not formally responded to that yet.”

Wallace said he expects the Mirror Pond ad hoc committee, tasked with deciding the future of this section of the Deschutes River, will meet in early September to discuss how to respond to PacifiCorp’s offer.

Wallace is a member of the committee, which also includes city councilors, city and park district employees and citizens.

“I’m sensitive to the fact that nothing seems to have been going on, but it’s a slow process,” Wallace said.

The Mirror Pond ad hoc committee has not met since May 21. A majority of the officials at that meeting said the community should replace the dam, rather than attempt to overhaul the often leaky, century-old structure.

That could cost from $3.9 million to $22.8 million, according to a report prepared by consultants hired by the Bend Park & Recreation District.

Those estimates did not include permitting costs, engineering design or any river habitat restoration, so the total price would likely be larger.

Tom Gauntt, a spokesman for Pacific Power, wrote in an email Tuesday that employees of the utility are still engaged in discussions with Bend officials.

City Councilor Mark Capell, a member of the Mirror Pond ad hoc committee, said he expects the process to ramp up again soon.

“I think really it’s just been everybody’s schedule, and there’s not a lot going on,” Capell said. “It stopped for a while with summer and everybody (being) busy, so I think it will start back up again.”

Capell said park district Director Don Horton told him Tuesday that the Mirror Pond ad hoc committee will likely meet in the next few weeks. Horton did not respond to calls for comment Tuesday.

Capell said the lull in activity does not mean officials are any less committed to finding a resolution for this section of the Deschutes River.

“I think we want to get this thing going,” Capell said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, hborrud@bendbulletin.com