Blurred vision for Mirror Pond

Imagine it’s the year 2030 in Bend. If you are like us, you envision Mirror Pond remaining a pond — not deteriorating into a mud flat.

The Bend City Council shares that vision. It’s just that the council’s focus sometimes goes blurry.

The council has $200,000 set aside in the current budget for Mirror Pond. It’s not the $700,000 that the city had hoped for because a $490,000 contribution from the federal government isn’t coming. At least $200,000 is enough to do some limited dredging.

Councilor Jim Clinton says the $200,000 will buy the city some time to come up with a more permanent solution. Dredging the pond is a temporary fix. The pond was last dredged in 1984 at a cost of $312,000. Sediment has been piling up in the pond since then.

We don’t know the best way to spend the $200,000. But wouldn’t it be nice if the city was closer to its vision of Mirror Pond and its $700,000 goal?

It could have been. Remember the city’s joy ride into visioning known as Bend 2030?

The city held public meetings. Some residents got motivated to think about the future of the city. A visioning document was produced. And the City Council embraced it, declaring that it would review its long-term plans to promote alignment with the vision.

What has happened since then? Well, Bend 2030 gets mentioned in passing from time to time at council meetings. We would think if something significant was going on, it would be reported at a council meeting.

The trouble with Bend 2030 was that it purported to show citywide agreement from limited input. And many of its starry-eyed hopes and dreams required new taxes, regulations and fat expenditures to build difficult to sustain projects, such as a performing arts center or a museum of fine arts.

The price tag for the visioning process was more than $160,000. The city’s continuing contribution is supposed to be in the form of half the assistant city manager’s time being dedicated to making the vision a reality. That means the city’s contribution is looking more like $200,000, so far.

The point is from the hundreds of thousands of dollars the city spent on visioning, what it got was less money to create the reality everyone wants.

Source: The Bulletin ©2007

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