The Old Bend Neighborhood’s Unofficial Survey

Results Published: February 25, 2013


Q1 Where do you live?

14.92% – Old Bend Neighborhood
17.63% – River West Neighborhood
53.90% – Other Bend Neighborhood
13.56% – I don’t live in Bend

Q2 Did you vote in the general election in November?

Yes – 88.14%
No – 11.86%

Q3 Please tell us which option below best describes how often you visit Mirror Pond or one of the adjacent park:

Never – 1.42%
A few times a year – 20.21%
About once a month – 20.92%
2 or 3 times a month – 22.70%
About once a week – 16.31%
2 or 3 times a week – 11.35%
Daily – 7.09%

Q4 Please tell us how you interact with Mirror Pond:

Floating – 42.86%
Boating – 30.83%
Stand Up Paddle – 14.29%
Swimming – 6.39%
Fishing – 5.64%
Nature watching – 68.80%
Scenic background for park activities – 81.20%

Q5 What do you think should happen with Mirror Pond?

62.26% – The dam should be removed and the river returned to its natural channel.
35.47% – The dam should be retained and a solution found for the sedimentation problem.
2.26% – The dam should be retained and the pond should be allowed to turn into a wetland.

Q6 If the dam is retained, which of these would you like to see?

50.19% – The pond dredged and its shape kept the same as it is now
26.24% – Change the shape of the river channel and pond, creating rapids.
14.45% – Let the pond fill in and turn to wetlands.
47.53% – Add fish passage and fish screens to the dam.
38.40% – Add people passage or river play area to dam.

Q7 If the dam is removed, what would you like to see happen to the land no longer submerged under Mirror Pond?

12.31% – It remain in the hands of its current owners. (McKay family?, etc.)
15.77% – It becomes the property of the adjacent land owners, maintaining their river frontage.
71.92% – It becomes public property and remains in public use.

Q8 Which would you prefer?

44.32% – Mirror Pond to retain its current charm and iconic stature.
55.68% – Boat or float the Deschutes River from above the Bill Healy Bridge to below the First Street Rapids.

City Club to host Mirror Pond forum

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


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.

City Club on MyWindow with Kristi Miller

You won’t want to miss City Club’s February forum, where they tackle the Mirror Pond debate – but from a different point of view. What is physically possible? Come to their forum Feb. 21 and take part in the discussion.

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

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

Register at City Club of Central Oregon’s website.

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.

Pick the future of Mirror Pond

Bend residents are taking the first steps to decide Mirror Pond’s future. Should the dam go? Should the pond be dredged? Should the community do nothing, or is there a better choice?

If you want to have a say in the process, now is the time to get involved. The steering committee for the pond has established a questionnaire to identify options to present to the community.

The questionnaire has been up only a short time at There are already some 350 responses.

It’s not a scientific poll, but Don Horton, the executive director of the Bend Park & Recreation District, says the purpose is to get as many people involved in the process as possible.

Public meetings are planned for February. Jim Figurski, the Mirror Pond project manager employed by the park district, is also going to be speaking to various community groups. In March and April, a consultant will come up with a series of options with cost estimates.

Then there will be another round of outreach to pick a preferred option. It should be chosen by June.

Paying for the chosen option is only one significant issue.

What is the future of the dam? Representatives from Pacific Power, the dam’s owner, have repeatedly said they want to find out what the community wants first before making decisions about its future. But what Pacific Power does with the hydroelectric dam is obviously fundamental to any choice. It doesn’t make any sense to spend millions dredging if Pacific Power wants to give up the dam.

There’s also the issue of the ownership of the land under the pond. About 90 percent of it belongs to the McKay family, whose ancestors shaped Bend’s development. The family wants liability protection if there is a dredging operation. That’s so they wouldn’t be forced to pay to clean up the dredged material, if it is found to be contaminated. It’s not clear how much that protection might cost.

Mirror Pond has been a central feature of Bend since 1910. Make your voice count and fill out the questionnaire.

Correction: The Mirror Pond Steering Committee’s website is at

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Mirror Pond Steering Committee plans silt proposal

The Mirror Pond Steering Committee said Tuesday it has begun a program that will result in a preferred course of action to address silt build-up in Bend’s iconic Mirror Pond, with the goal of a recommendation by late spring.

“The process takes into consideration current public values for the pond, past studies, identification of regulatory requirements associated with each action, and rough cost estimates to inform a recommendation for both immediate and long-term responses to the silt build-up,” the committee said.

“Many people have opinions and ideas about what to do or not to do around the build-up of silt in the pond,” said Don Horton, Park and Recreation District executive director.

“What was done years ago now requires additional regulatory steps and expense. Dredging still may be the best solution, but this body of work will allow us to explore several options and arrive at a solution that is both informed and achievable.”

Public input is crucial to this process. The first step in the three-phased project is to identify the key values that Bend citizens associate with the Mirror Pond.

Bend residents are asked to go to to complete a questionnaire on the characteristics of Mirror Pond that matter most to them.

In addition to the questionnaire, the Website provides information on the history of the silt build-up and its impact on the river and community.

For people who would prefer to hear background on the project or ask questions in person, two opportunities have been scheduled: Wednesday, February 6th and Tuesday, February 12th. Both meetings will be held at Bend Park and Recreation District office at 799 SW Columbia. The meeting (presentation) will begin at 6:30.

The second phase of the project will present detailed illustrations representing alternative actions.

Projected range of costs, possible regulatory requirements, and the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative action will be presented to the community for input through the website, public meetings, and public gatherings. It is anticipated that this phase of the project will begin in early April.

In the third and final phase, those actions most closely aligned with community values and interests will be presented to the Mirror Pond Management Board, a seventeen member citizen’s group appointed by the City Council, for consideration.

The Management Board’s recommendation will be presented to the community. It is anticipated that a decision will be made by late spring.

Survey seeks Mirror Pond solution

The way forward for Mirror Pond should be known by June.

On Wednesday, members of the Mirror Pond Steering Committee discussed the launching of a public outreach process intended to determine what — if anything — should be done about the silt buildup that is slowly turning the pond into a mudflat.

In the interest of gathering public input, the committee has created a website including a questionnaire asking residents what they value about Mirror Pond, and has scheduled two public meetings early next month.

Under the schedule laid out by the committee, January and February will be spent using the survey results, meetings and other means to identify community feelings about Mirror Pond. March and April will be spent developing up to four possible courses of action, including cost estimates, that could preserve or enhance those things local residents enjoy about the pond at the heart of Bend. In May and June, a second round of public outreach will be held to develop a preferred plan.

Created with the construction of the Pacific Power and Light dam in 1910, Mirror Pond has been dredged to remove silt buildup once before, in 1984. The dredging cost $312,000, but more recent estimates have projected it would cost $2 million to $5 million to dredge the pond today.

Two factors somewhat out of the control of the committee and local government could stymie any plans that come out of the public outreach process.

The McKay family of Portland claims ownership of most of the land beneath Mirror Pond, property that was left over when Clyde McKay’s early Bend real estate company platted the lots west of the water. And, PacificCorp, successor to Pacific Power and Light, has not committed to operating the aging dam, which makes the pond possible in the first place, into the indefinite future.

Committee member Don Horton, director of the Bend Park & Recreation District, said the McKay family’s claim will need to be sorted out before any actual work can begin. For now, the McKays are insisting they be released from any liability in the event contaminants are found in the silt beneath the pond. Horton said it’s unlikely the silt is contaminated — nothing was found during the 1984 dredging, and there’s been no polluting industry upstream since — but the park district or the city needs to be cautious about assuming ownership or liability for the McKay holdings.

“It’s probably a low risk — but it is a risk,” he said.

Jim Figurski, the Mirror Pond project manager employed by the park district, said uncertainty surrounding the future of the dam will be a challenge for the committee. Whatever approach comes out of the public process — whether complete dredging, partial dredging or no dredging at all — Figurski said removing the dam would so alter the landscape that the public might demand a new approach.

Ryan Houston, executive director of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and a committee member, said a preview of what Mirror Pond will eventually look like if the dam remains and nothing is done can be seen less than a mile upriver.

Upstream from the Colorado Avenue bridge, the stand of cattails and other aquatic plants near the spot where river floaters exit was once a dredged pond, Houston said, used by nearby timber mills to store logs awaiting processing. When the mills closed down and regular dredging ended, silt and vegetation reclaimed the area, he said.

“That’s Mirror Pond 30 years from now under the do-nothing scenario,” he said.

Figurski said that while the online questionnaire and accompanying outreach efforts won’t be a scientific poll of the community, he’s optimistic they’ll help the committee put together an accurate picture of what Bend residents want for one of the city’s most iconic features.

“You can do anything, its a matter of time, energy and money, and what you want to see at the end of that,” he said.

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Management Board Minutes 1-18-2013

Mirror Pond Management Board
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Board Room of City Hall

Meeting Notes

Attendance: Angela Price (Pacific Power); Don Horton (Bend Park and Recreation District); Mel Oberst (City of Bend); Ryan Houston (Deschutes Watershed Council); Todd Heisler (Deschutes River Conservancy); Victor Chudowsky (Bend City Council); Leslie Olson (River West Neighborhood Association); Jim Figurski (Project Manager; Bend Park and Recreation District)

Also present: Reporters from Channel 2 and the Bend Bulletin; Spencer Dahl (Old Bend Neighborhood Association)

Agenda: Update on status and progress of Mirror Pond Visioning Project Discussion:   Don Horton started the meeting with a background statement regarding the history and intent behind the current project.  Jim Figurski gave a brief PowerPoint presentation to the MPMB covering some of the history of past efforts and the opportunities and constraints associated with current and future efforts.

The presentation also covered the launch of the Mirror Pond Project website; ; a discussion of the ‘Questionnaire’ hosted on the website; the current request for consultant services to help create the ‘Visions’ associated with future strategies to address silt; and the project schedule.

The board discussed the outreach strategies presented and stated their approval