Welcome progress on Mirror Pond

Great news this week on Mirror Pond. We’re heartened not only by the money committed, but also the decision that a study can be done by staff rather than consultants.

The Bend Park & Recreation District decided Tuesday to spend $100,000 on a study of the silt problem in Mirror Pond, matching the city of Bend’s earlier commitment for the same amount.

Progress has been stalled because of the perceived need for $500,000 to have a study conducted by consultants. The breakthrough this week comes from park district Executive Director Don Horton, who said the combined $200,000 will be enough for staff to do the needed analysis.

Horton said the funding decision will allow the study to start within the next few months. That’s music to our ears; the wait has already been far too long.

We also like the idea of using the talent of local staff, rather than turning to outside consultants. There’s plenty of expertise here, and staff members are quite capable of researching issues where they need to know more.

Silt buildup in Mirror Pond, the city’s central downtown feature, has been turning it into a mudflat. The prime cause is the nearby hydroelectric dam that slows the water flow, causing sediment to drop and build up in the pond. The pond was last dredged in 1984 at a cost of $312,000. Estimates to do it today run from $2 million to $5 million.

Although many have supported dredging to restore the pond, some have suggested other solutions, including removing the dam and returning the pond to its original river status.

We support dredging, and we think the community does as well. We’ll never know for certain, though, until voters are offered a clear-cut choice to support preserving the city’s unique treasure.

Source: The Bulletin

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