Editorial: Mirror Pond’s bad ballot measures

Published Jul 1, 2014 at 12:01AM

The thing we like best about the twin ballot measures targeting Mirror Pond is so far they have gone nowhere.

Not enough signatures have been collected to place the measures on the ballot for the November election. The backers have switched instead to the May 2015 election.

We hope they miss that target, too.

The measures do things ballot measures should not do. They are misleading. They are vague. They try to impose a solution when the community doesn’t have the facts.

One measure concerns spending by the city of Bend. One concerns spending by the Bend Park & Recreation District.

The measures would bar any spending, taxes levied or bonds issued toward any solution on a Mirror Pond project unless:

• It enabled redband trout to thrive.

• It didn’t block fish passage.

• It didn’t require periodic dredging.

• And it created no restrictions on access to the river.

Those are the details of the measure, but the actual ballot question sounds much more benign. It says: “Prohibit using City funds on Mirror Pond periodic dredging or Mirror Pond projects that don’t improve redband trout habitat?”

That doesn’t tell you that the measure would effectively ban a dam, because a dam would require dredging.

The details of the measures are also befuddling. What does it mean that the project must contribute to a habitat that would enable trout “to spawn, be reared, and thrive?”

How exactly do you prove trout are enabled to thrive before a project goes in? You can’t.

Of course, there is going to be debate over the best solution to Mirror Pond. But perhaps the worst thing about this measure is that it eliminates consideration of a dam, while the community is still waiting on better answers to questions about all the possible solutions.

Don’t sign these ballot measures.