Dredging district borders attacked

Property owners on Riverside Boulevard do not want to help pay for dredging the Deschutes River in downtown Bend, they said at a neighborhood meeting Thursday.

Property on the boulevard was included in the proposed Local Improvement District which would finance the project.

A district must be formed and a formula of assessments worked out before the work can start, Tom Gellner, a Bend city engineer, said today. The project is targeted for next April, May and June.

The city’s Mirror Pond Committee and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District board outlined mechanics of forming the LID and a tentative formula for determining assessments at a meeting Wednesday.

The LID would include property on both sides of the river from the Tumalo Bridge to the power dam area north of Newport Avenue.

The park district agreed to increase its share of the $300,000 cost to $175,000. Parks occupy 42 percent of the property in the proposed district.

A proposal from the Mirror Pond Committee for establishment of a sliding scale for assessments also was accepted.

But some 15 Riverside Boulevard residents, at their own meeting, said they don’t feel they should be included in the district because their property does not have river frontage. Drake Park occupies property between the river and the boulevard.

A group of Brooke Street property owners, mostly business people, had no objections to proposed district boundaries, Gellner said. They discussed the project at a breakfast meeting Thursday.

“Everybody agrees that the work needs to be done,” Gellner said. It’s just a question of working out the details, and getting petitions circulated for formation of the LID.”

Source: The Bulletin ©1982

Return Pond’s days of glory

Karen Willard/The Bulletin
Karen Willard/The Bulletin

If Mirror Pond, perhaps Bend’s best known geographic feature, ever regains its original glory it will be due to the efforts of Dick Carlson and Art Johnson and a host of others interested in the project. The idea of eliminating the pond’s present shallow areas has been discussed for several years. Now it finally appears something may be done.

The pond was created by an early-day power dam, still in existence, which backed up the Deschutes enough to create a head for a relatively small electric generator. That plant, plus some surplus power generated from burning lumber mill waste, was adequate to supply the city’s needs when those needs were limited, essentially to public and private lighting. (Growth of the city, plus growth in electric use occasioned by increased lighting, industrial uses, more home appliances and considerable space heating, means the dam at the foot of the pond now supplies only a fraction of current needs.)

The pond slowly has filled. Much of the debris — which has left room for only a few inches of water over much of the pond’s surface — has been caused as light earth and pumice disturbed by fluctuating flows after the creation of Wickiup Reservoir tumbled into the Deschutes. The flows, used by irrigationists, will continue to fluctuate and to erode the river’s upstream banks. The pond, then, will have to be dredged — at intervals of a number of years – if it is to be kept deep enough to inhibit the growth of algae and aquatic weeds.

A city paid study has come up with an estimate that it will take somewhat less than $300,000 to do the job. Carlson, Johnson and others have come up with a way to raise the money. Assessments of a few cents per square foot of property owned by those whose property abuts the riverbanks, or those whose property is improved by a view of the river — including public property — would do the job.

That leaves two questions to answer. Is the proposed method of raising the money fair to all concerned? And will dredging the pond seriously reduce its use by waterfowl, one of Drake Park’s major attractions, particularly to youngsters?

The answer to the first one is easy. The system is about as fair as can be developed. To be sure, riverside residents would have to pay an assessment on their property, plus their share of city and parks and recreation district taxes. But their property values, as a percentage of the total values in either the city or the parks and recreation district, are so low the idea of triple taxation can safely be ignored. The small extra amount it will cost them is insignificant.

The answer to the second question is a little harder. Ducks and geese should continue to use the pond’s islands for spring nesting grounds as soon as the dredging is completed. Ducks and geese are grazers, and can continue to feed on pond-front lawns and on extra feed provided by residents and tourists during the summer. But winter waterfowl get most of their feed from aquatic weeds which grow in the summer. Most of the weeds will disappear after the pond is deepened. Fewer buffleheads and golden-eyes and widgeon and coot can be expected to occupy the pond during winter months.

But the pond once again would be deep enough so that geese will swim, rather than walk, at its upper end. The summer’s unsightly algae bloom rafts will disappear. That seems to be worth the cost, both to nearby residents and those property owners in the city and parks and recreation district who would make much smaller individual contributions, as little as a few cents a year, to the project.

Source: The Bulletin ©1982

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