The Bend Park & Recreation District formally approved allocating $300,000 toward dredging Mirror Pond, but with one extra condition attached.
During a board meeting Tuesday evening, board member Nathan Hovekamp introduced an amendment to the district’s support of the controversial dredging process. The added condition requires the district, the city of Bend and Pacific Power & Light, which owns Newport Avenue Dam, to agree in writing to start exploring options to improve fish passage beyond Mirror Pond.
The board voted for the amendment by a 3-2 margin, with board chair Brady Fuller and vice-chair Ted Schoenborn voting against the change.
Improving fish passage had been a key sticking point for environmental groups that opposed the $6.7 million dredging project. While each of the groups expressed a willingness to look at a fish ladder, the added amendment makes the discussion a requirement in order for the park district to provide funding. During the meeting, Hovekamp expressed concern that discussions about a fish ladder could get lost in the shuffle after the pond gets dredged.
“If it doesn’t happen now, it’s not gonna happen,” Hovekamp said.