If the leaders trying to find a solution to Mirror Pond had accomplished something more than secrecy and stagnation, two Bend businessmen might not have felt an obligation to step in.
Bill Smith, the developer of the Old Mill District, and Todd Taylor, president and CEO of the construction company Taylor Northwest, have signed an option to buy the land under Mirror Pond. They say they will transfer the option to purchase the land to any local government entity willing to preserve the pond.
One Mirror Pond issue resolved.
And we also now know PacifiCorp wants out. It wants to transfer ownership of the dam to somebody else.
Two Mirror Pond issues resolved.
Finally, on Mirror Pond there is actually movement toward decisions.
The various Mirror Pond committees have seemed like experiments in forming a new species of government body liberated from the obligation of making a decision. Measuring the committees’ movement would have produced a reading close to absolute zero.
Yes, we know, Mirror Pond’s future is a complicated decision. And no matter which way leaders decide — preserve the pond or rip out the dam and restore a more natural river flow — some people are going to be unhappy. It was also required that PacifiCorp clearly state its intentions.
But too much was still adrift after years of committee meetings. There has been a disquieting pursuit of secrecy in decision-making and committee forming. When a committee did try to do something, it was a farcical attempt to get a sense of what the community wants for Mirror Pond through an unreliable online poll.
It’s no secret we favor preserving the pond, but there are some things that we all must know.
What would it cost to keep the dam in dollars and liabilities?
What would it cost to get rid of the dam and clean up?
Will the state allow the dam to continue to create a pond?
What will voters pay for?
The big responsibility is back on the Mirror Pond committee officials. Can they make a stunning break with the muddling past and amaze us all with leadership?