Mirror Pond dam is a teardown. It doesn’t matter whether Bend residents want to keep it or remove it, the dam is junk.
What should Bend pay Pacific Power for such junk?
Not a lot.
The engineers hired by the Bend Park & Recreation District say it will cost from $2 million to nearly $4 million to replace or fix it. There will be substantial additional costs of engineering, dredging, permits and fish passage.
The dam would also cost from $600,000 to $1.9 million to simply remove. And with that option, there will be millions more in additional costs to clean up sediment and do restoration.
Buying the dam is buying those costs. Buying the dam is saving Pacific Power from having to pay those costs.
Pacific Power has already said it doesn’t make financial sense to keep operating it. So, Pacific Power wouldn’t be selling much of a financial asset. It’s a liability.
For the community, the dam represents something different. We would like to see Mirror Pond saved. Yes, we value the natural river. But we’ve got miles and miles of that.
The pond is Bend’s centerpiece. The pond is a pooling of Bend’s history. It’s hard not to be moved by it. Let’s not throw that away.
But even that sentiment must be tempered by the realities. What is the total price tag? Will Bend residents pay for that? Can Bend get a permit to keep the dam if it’s not producing power? Is it feasible for somebody else to take over the power generation?
Let’s get the answers to those other questions. And let’s see if we can find a way to preserve the pond.