Leaky Dam Could Affect Deschutes River Summer Recreation

A leak in the dam that forms Bend’s Mirror Pond could lead to unsafe water levels for people hoping to float the Deschutes River by inner tube this summer.

The leak is about the size of a basketball. It’s kept the dam offline since October. The dam’s owner, Pacific Corp, now says it no longer makes financial sense to operate the dam. So last month, the city and the district began exploring the possibility of taking it over as a way to preserve Bend’s iconic Mirror Pond.

But Park District Executive Director Don Horton says if a deal does happen, it’s unlikely to come before the summer, when up to a thousand people a day float the Deschutes. He wants Pacific Corp to make those repairs a priority.

“We have time,” Horton says. “We won’t see floaters until June. However, we need to get the hole fixed as soon as we can.”

Pacific Corp spokesman, Bob Gravely says the dam is safe, adding that any deal that would need to take into account the interests of ratepayers.

Source: OPB News

Future of Mirror Pond Dam Remains Murky

The utility that owns the century-old dam that creates Bend’s iconic Mirror Pond says it still hasn’t made any decisions about it’s long-term plans of the dam.

Dam removal is one option city leaders are considering as they try to address decades of sediment build-up in the river.

The ultimate decision on whether to remove the dam will fall to its owner, PacifiCorp.

The utility had hoped a recent non-scientific survey would provide some direction but residents appear to be split on the question.

Spokesman Bob Gravely while still in operation, it’s only a matter of time before a major upgrade makes it no longer cost effective. He says at that point, the dam could be removed or a transfer of ownership might be possible.

“So I think there’s ways to pursue this on any number of fronts, but it could go any different direction. So it’s been our hope that we would have a sense of what the community wants before going too far down any of those paths,” said Gravely.

Last week, Bend’s city council and local parks district formed a committee to move toward preferred alternative.

Source: OPB ©2013

Bend Residents Reflecting On What To Do With Mirror Pond

http://soundcloud.com/opbnews-1/060313mirrorpond

Bend residents will soon have the opportunity to comment at public meetings on what do about decades of sediment built up in the city’s iconic Mirror Pond.

Bend's Mirror Pond from Drake Park. Photo: David Nogueras / OPB
Bend’s Mirror Pond from Drake Park. Photo: David Nogueras / OPB

Mirror Pond really isn’t a pond at all. It’s a slow-moving water impoundment of the Deschutes River — created as a by-product of a century-old hydroelectric dam that was built just downstream.

But as the water slows it deposits silt. Jim Figurski is the project manager for what’s known as the Mirror Pond Visioning Study. He says the silt degrades water quality.

“It’s also an image issue. Mirror Pond is on the City of Bend seal. Mirror Pond is on the label of Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond Ale. Many people associate their life in Bend and the quality of life with Mirror Pond. So it’s an emotional issue. It’s an economic issue. It’s a recreational issue. It’s an environmental issue.”

One option is to do nothing. Other options being considered range from dredging to actually removing the dam that creates Mirror Pond.

Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting ©2013