Mirror Pond and Downtown Redevelopment Concept

November 7, 2014

OVERVIEW
After several years of public engagement and technical exploration, the Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee is proposing a concept for the future of Mirror Pond for public input. The concept detailed in this summary satisfies stakeholders who wish to retain Mirror Pond and those who wish to see a more free-flowing river with enhanced wildlife habitat. This concept, called the Mirror Pond and Downtown Redevelopment Concept also offers a vision for the renewal of a critical area in Bend’s downtown core, with opportunities for new parks, restaurants and mixed-use development. The concept will not increase taxes and would be funded and managed by a partnership between the City of Bend, Bend Park and Recreation District, PacfiCorp and the private sector.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM

  • Mirror Pond is a collector for sediment flowing through the Deschutes River, which backs up into the pond behind Newport Avenue Dam, owned by PacifiCorp. This sediment build-up, if left alone, would eventually create a wetland, picturesque views would be diminished and river recreation would be impacted.
  • The pond was last dredged in 1984 to remove sediment. In recent years, a need to address the sediment build-up became increasingly acute.
  • Stakeholders have been divided on the best way to address sediment build-up, leading to an extensive community-wide debate on the future of Mirror Pond.
  • Factors influencing the debate include:
    • The PacifiCorp-owned dam is 100 years old and no longer produces adequate power to justify continued corporate investment.
    • When dredging last occurred in 1984 there were fewer regulatory requirements. Today, regulatory requirements make dredging challenging and more costly.
    • The dam is in poor condition; repairs will be costly.
    • The land under the pond is owned by a family trust of one of the founding families of Bend. Two local citizens have an option to purchase the land in order to help shepherd a solution.
    • Neither the City of Bend nor the Park and Recreation District (BPRD) have ownership of the pond.
    • BPRD owns approximately 60% of land adjacent to Mirror Pond between Newport and Galveston Avenues.

DEVELOPING A SOLUTION

  • The Mirror Pond Steering Committee was created to oversee the development of a series of scenarios to address the sediment build-up in Mirror Pond.
  • A Mirror Pond Technical Advisory committee provided scientific input and data from which to base the alternative scenarios.
  • Scientifically based illustrations were developed to depict the scenarios.
  • The scenarios were taken to the public for input.
  • Community meetings and on-line surveys resulted in input from over 4,000 people.
  • Community input indicated a division between those who preferred the river to flow in a more natural-like manner versus those who preferred the current look of the pond be maintained.
  • While respondent first choice interests were divided between keeping the pond and returning the river to a natural-like path, there was a second choice scenario that satisfied most respondents. It maintained the pond while improving wildlife habitat and providing fish passage.
  • Results also indicated seven community interests that were shared respondents, including:
    • Maintaining the historic character and picturesque appeal of Mirror Pond.
    • Maintaining or improving public spaces.
    • Enhancing natural habitat.
    • Providing fish passage.
    • Reducing the quantity of sediment deposited in the river/pond.
    • Reducing the frequency that the pond needs to be dredged.
    • Identifying funding with minimal burden on taxpayers.
  • Following extensive community input, the Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee, made up of representatives from the City of Bend, Bend Park and Recreation District and citizens, was tasked with reviewing public input and working with PacifiCorp regarding the future of the dam and exploring possible solutions that would address shared community values. The Mirror Pond and Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment concept resulted from this work.

THE MIRROR POND AND DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT CONCEPT

The Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee is proposing for community consideration a project that preserves Mirror Pond, allows for a more free-flowing river, creates wildlife habitat and will encourage dynamic riverfront mixed-use development in downtown Bend.

Concept Outcomes

  • PacifiCorp would divest from their power production interests at the site by relinquishing ownership of the dam and moving the substation to another Bend location. A sub-committee of the Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee is currently in communication with PacifiCorp regarding this scenario.
  • PacifiCorp would gift the dam to a public entity (City and/or Park District) who would then oversee conversion of the dam into a water impoundment constructed as a series of pools and riffles in the river. This new impoundment would cause a rise in the river water level behind it, resulting in the preservation of Mirror Pond near its average historic level.
  • The new pools and riffles would provide fish passage where none exist today.
  • The banks along the river would be reshaped to help to reduce sediment buildup and enhance habitat.
  • Pacific Park, the two Mirror Pond parking lots, and PacifiCorp’s powerhouse, parking lot and substation would be repurposed into new mixed use development including public spaces, plazas, restaurants, small businesses, housing and public parking.
  • Private property owners in the area would see value in redevelopment as a means to enhance their investments and support the community’s economic vitality.
  • The Deschutes River Trail would wind through downtown Bend, connecting people to parks, schools and business.
  • A public-private partnership involving the City of Bend, Park District, PacifiCorp and private sector interests would lead and fund redevelopment.
    • The Park District’s role would include selling what is now Pacific Park and using the funds generated to create a new Pacific Park near what is now the substation, improving the Deschutes River Trail through Bend’s urban core, and creating new public places.
    • The City’s role would include encouraging development on what are now the two Mirror Pond parking lots, updating storm water systems, and building a new parking structure. Funds would be generated by a combination of proceeds from land sales/rent, the formation of an urban renewal district, and/or development fees.
    • PacifiCorp’s role would be to divest in the dam and substation.
    • Private development’s role would be to invest in new mixed use development, including retail, commercial/office and housing.

NEXT STEPS

The Mirror Pond Ad Hoc committee is inviting the community to give input on the Mirror Pond and Downtown Redevelopment Concept. Should the concept receive widespread support, an independent consortium would be formed to oversee a development plan. The City and Park District would lead the elements of the project on public lands and make improvements to the dam and pond.

PUBLIC INPUT

A public input period on the proposed concept will be open from November 2014 to January 2015. The public may offer input through the following opportunities:

  • www.mirrorpondbend.com
  • Public meetings – dates/locations TBD
  • Other outreach opportunities to be advertised through TV, radio, news and social media.

Illustration of the Mirror Pond and Downtown Redevelopment Concept
Mirror Pond / Downtown Concept

Mirror Pond / Downtown 2

Illustration of the Mirror Pond and Downtown Redevelopment Concept
Features include:

  • Buildings indicated in blue are envisioned for redevelopment along the river.
  • New public space exists where the dam and substation currently exist.
  • Conversion of the dam into an impoundment, constructed of a series of new pools and riffles that preserve Mirror Pond and provides fish passage.
  • The historic powerhouse is repurposed into a restaurant or other business.
  • Brooks Park is expanded, narrowing the river channel.
  • The Deschutes River Trail connects new development with downtown.
  • Public plazas and viewscapes maintain connection with the riverfront.
  • The banks along the river provide habitat for nature.

30,000 feet

Your opinion matters. Please go to the Mirror Pond website and share your perspective.  Go to www.mirrorpondbend.com

Please fill out the Mirror Pond Downtown and Redevelopment Concept questionnaire.

PDF: Mirror_Pond_and_Downtown_Redevelopment_Concept

Mirror Pond Dam Repair Planned for April

BEND, Ore. – PacifiCorp will reinforce a section of the company’s dam in downtown Bend to address a leak in one of the structure’s wooden panels that developed in October of 2013. The installation of steel sheet pile upstream of a leaking panel is planned to begin in April.

The company stopped generating power at the dam following the leak, and announced in November that it is not cost-effective to rebuild the entire facility to generate power for current and future generations of customers across its six-state territory. PacifiCorp has since been in formal discussions with Bend Parks and Recreation and the City of Bend regarding a potential transfer of the dam to a local entity for the purpose of maintaining the Mirror Pond impoundment.

“Though the dam remains safe, we fully understand the community’s concern about the potential for low water levels during summer recreation months,” said Mark Tallman, PacifiCorp’s vice president for renewable resources. “It’s possible Mirror Pond would have remained full this summer without this fix, but in our view this is the right action to take at this time.” Tallman said. “This reinforcement is also anticipated to restore hydro generation for the year, and should provide the community with more certainty about the structure and Mirror Pond during the summer season and going forward.”

The company used the sheet pile technique previously to address similar leaks in other wooden panels, known as bays. The work involves driving long pieces of interlocking steel sheets into the river bed to create steel facing on the upstream side of the leaking panel.

“This action will also facilitate further discussions with community leaders to determine if an agreement can be reached that enables PacifiCorp to clearly demonstrate that placing the dam under local control is better for all our customers than dam removal or other alternatives,” Tallman said.

“The company is very committed to trying to find the best possible outcome regarding this facility that balances the community’s priorities for Mirror Pond and our regulatory obligations” said Scott Bolton, PacifiCorp’s vice president for community and government relations. “That includes taking steps like this reinforcement as part of our community commitment, and our support of efforts by community leaders to preserve Mirror Pond’s future.” Bolton added, “We are hopeful an agreement can be reached that allows this to happen and also protects the interest of our rate-paying customers in Bend and throughout our six-state service area.”

OBNA Open Board Meeting

IMPORTANT NOTICE!

Location of tonight’s meeting has been changed to the Old Library which is now the Admin Building on Wall Street south of the Library.

Do you have questions about the Mirror Pond sedimentation process?

Jim Figurski, the Mirror Pond Project Manager will be at the meeting to give an update and answer questions.

This is an open forum for neighbors to chat with each other, and the board, about happening and/or concerns in your neighborhood.

Location: Old Library Building, south of the Library
Day/time: Monday, March 25th @ 6:00pm

Let us know you’re coming.

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Become an Old Bend Neighbor: OBNA Membership Application

How much water is flowing through Mirror Pond?

mirror-pond-spillway

The flow of the Deschutes River through Mirror Pond depends highly on the type of winter we are having. During dry years the winter flow through Mirror Pond is around 450 CFS and during wet years (when the Watermaster is passing live flow out of the upper basin reservoirs) it can be as high as 1600 CFS. In the summer it ranges from 1400-1600 CFS, depending upon irrigation demand.

OBNA Open Board Meeting

Old Bend Neighborhood-open Board Mtg_1d-01

Do you have questions about the Mirror Pond sedimentation process?

Jim Figurski, the Mirror Pond Project Manager will be at the meeting to give an update and answer questions.

This is an open forum for neighbors to chat with each other, and the board, about happening and/or concerns in your neighborhood.

Location: the Brooks Room at the Bend Public Library
Day/time: Monday, March 25th @ 6:00pm

Mirror Pond Sediment Issues

Mirror Pond, the Deschutes River and the adjacent parks and trails are popular features in our community. But as shown in the video, there’s lots of questions about what to do or not do with the silt in the pond. To help find possible solutions, the Mirror Pond Management Board wants to know what your values are about Mirror Pond. Is it the view, the recreation, the wildlife habitat or … ? Share your thoughts in a questionnaire at: www.mirrorpondbend.com

The Mirror Pond Project public meeting tonight

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The Mirror Pond Project will be discussing their vision for Mirror Pond tonight at Bend Park and Recreation District office at 799 SW Columbia. The meeting will begin at 6:30.

City Club of Central Oregon’s February forum will be an open conversation with experts and community leaders about the specific, science-based physical options available to the community to address the filling in of Mirror Pond.  The forum takes place Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at the  St. Charles Center for Health and Learning.

At the Old Bend Neighbor’s Open Board Meeting on March 25, Mirror Pond will be on the agenda along with other neighborhood issues. The meeting will be at 6:00 pm in the Brooks Room at the library.

City Club to host Mirror Pond forum

Bend Visionaries Discuss the Future (or Fate) of Bend’s #1 Icon

mirror-mirror

February 21, 2013

City Club of Central Oregon’s February forum will be an open conversation with experts and community leaders about the specific, science-based physical options available to the community to address the filling in of Mirror Pond.

Opening the conversation will be a brief technical presentation by local hydrologist Joe Eilers with MaxDepth Aquatics, Inc., the company who conducted the hydroacoustic mapping of Mirror Pond in 2005.

The remainder of the session will be devoted to a discussion of the menu of options that could theoretically be deployed in the effort to maintain Bend’s aesthetic, iconic Mirror Pond.

The discussion will be guided by a panel including:

  • Jim Clinton, Mayor of Bend
  • Mike Hollern, Brooks Resources’ President and CEO
  • Gary Fish, President of Deschutes Brewing
  • Ryan Houston, Executive Director – Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
  • Gabe Williams, hydrologist

This will be an opportunity to test out your own ideas about what might work and also to find out whether you can live with some of the structural ideas that are out there.

Event: Mirror Mirror on the Pond
What: City Club of Central Oregon Monthly Forum
When: Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Where: St. Charles Center for Health and Learning

Fee Schedule: Registration closes Tuesday, February 19, 2012, 5 pm, buffet lunch is included. Before registration deadline – $20 for members and first-time guests; $35 for non-members. Day of Forum – Walk-ins are welcomed for members and guests the day of the forum on a space-available basis for $35

Register now.

ODFW Fish Passage Task Force to meet in Salem

SALEM – Oregon’s Fish Passage Task Force will meet in Salem on Friday, Feb. 1 to consider current statewide fish passage issues. The meeting will be held at the Oregon Department of Forestry office at 2600 State Street, Bldg. C.

The meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to the public. The agenda includes Task Force member updates, review of fish passage approvals, waivers, and exemptions, fish passage barrier prioritization, fish passage initiatives, and other Task Force business.

The nine-member Fish Passage Task Force meets quarterly to advise ODFW on fish passage policies and issues. Task Force members represent water users, fisheries and conservation interests, and the general public.