Mirror Pond dredging project taking shape

Although digging out Mirror Pond may mean digging deeply into their pocketbooks, owners of homes along the pond want to pay their fair share of the cost, several of them said Wednesday.

Fifteen riverfront residents, most of whom live on Drake Road along the north bank, expressed support in principal for a proposed local improvement district to finance dredging of the pond.

They gathered at the home of lawyer Ray Babb, 407 NW Drake Road, to view a map of the proposed LID boundary and to learn how deep into their pocketbooks they may have to dig.

The mile-long pond, which runs from the Galveston Avenue bridge to the Pacific Power & Light Co. dam, needs to be scooped out to a minimum depth of about five feet, a study published last summer said.

Weeds and silt are choking the river channel. If left unchecked, the buildup could turn the pond into a mud flat.

The dredging project is expected to cost $300,000 at the most.

The LID boundary embraces 1.8 million square feet of private, public and semi-public property. Under the financing plan, private land owners would pay 43.5 percent of the cost, leaving the remaining portion to the city of Bend (7.5 percent), the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District (42 percent), the Elks Lodge (1.3 percent) and Pacific Power (5.6 percent).

The private portion would be financed through bonds sold by the city and paid off by property owners.

The proposal was put together by former Mayor Dick Carlson, whose home at 1000 NW Harmon Boulevard is on a bank of the pond, and by city officials.

It sets up two payment rates. Homeowners with property touching the river would pay 17 cents for each square foot of their lots, while LID residents with land separated from the pond by a road would pay 14 cents.

A homeowner with a 6,000 square-foot lot on the river would contribute $1,020 to the project. The same size property not directly on the river would be assessed $840.

Four-fifths of the property in the suggested district lies at the river’s edge.

Dick Gervais, 437 NW Drake, while supporting the financing plan at Wednesday’s meeting, asked whether the costs might be better distributed. He said the residents would actually pay for the project three times; directly through assessment of their property as part of the LID and indirectly through taxes paid to the city and the park district. Gervais suggested the rate paid by private land owners should be lowered to compensate for the indirect payments to both agencies.

Pat Metke, 647 NW Drake, said people outside the LID might be persuaded to donate money to help get the work done.

“There’s probably enough people outside who have enough interest in this project to participate,” he said.

The group appointed Babb, Gervais and Frank Loggan to work with owners on Harmon and Riverside boulevards on the proposal. Meetings are planned soon for both of those neighborhoods.

The excavation is expected to begin next spring. A floating dredge would vacuum about 60,000 cubic feet of silt from the river bottom. A place to put the silt, which is enough to form a one-yard-square dirt column 40 miles high, has not been decided yet. However, Brooks Resources Corp. indicated an interest last fall in having it pumped upstream as the Shevlin Center to be used as fill dirt. It is unknown if the real estate development company is still interested in the silt.

Another proposal has been to pipe it downstream to a piece of property owned by Clyde Purcell.

City engineer Tom Gellner said, however, that the second option is more expensive.

Concern also has been expressed about the effect of the dredging project on waterfowl on the pond. The study, done by Clark and Joyce Inc., a Bend engineering firm, said the impact should be minimal. It said the ducks and geese, which use grass-covered islands on the pond as a habitat, would probably move upstream until the three-month project is finished.

Source: The Bulletin ©1982