Enough is enough. For more than 20 years, Bend city officials have discussed the fate of Mirror Pond, and they and the Bend Park & Recreation District have failed to come to a conclusion about what should be done.
It’s time to end the discussion, allow the city’s voters to choose the path forward and go from there.
The pond was created when a Pacific Power predecessor dammed the river to generate power. It was last dredged in spring 1984.
When the dredging project ended, the silt began to return. It became clear early on that more dredging would be needed if the pond was to continue to be a pond. Discussions began.
In 1994, Pacific Power wanted to scrap the dam; public officials from several agencies, including the park district, wanted to save it. Discussions, first of dam removal and later of whether or not to save the pond, have followed nearly every year since.
A blue-ribbon committee was formed to come up with options in 2004; by 2008, there were still no answers, but research continued. In 2010, the city, park district, Pacific Power and Smith Properties joined forces to hire a project manager and sometime that year began to study the problem all over again. A new committee was formed in 2013 to — you guessed it — come up with an answer to the pond’s problems … and on, and on, and on.
Today, in 2019, several committees and a host of public hearings later, we’re no closer to a solution than we were in the beginning.
Yet the answer is, or should be, fairly simple.
The city and the park district should agree, in writing, to put the pond’s fate to a vote of the people. They should also agree, in writing, to share equally the cost of any dredging and other work that might be required as a result of that election.
Then, they should let the voters have their say and end this discussion once and for all.