Right call on Mirror Pond

The city of Bend must decide soon what to do about Mirror Pond. It was last dredged some 22 years ago, a temporary solution to sedimentation problems that would, experts said, last about 20 years ago.

The experts were right, and now the city must decide how to keep the pond healthy. One possible solution was effectively taken off the table this week by the City Council, with which, we suspect, most Bend residents will agree.

The simplest solution to Mirror Pond’s sediment problems, which are caused by flow fluctuations upstream as water is stored and released from Wickiup Reservoir, would be to remove all restrictions that further impede the river and simply let it do what it would do naturally. Yet that in itself is a problem, and a major one: Remove the dams along the river, and there goes Mirror Pond as the Des- chutes reverts to a more natural, prepond channel.

If your idea of what makes a good river is exactly and only what nature intended, that makes sense. But if your sense of what Bend is, where its heart lies, what bits of physical beauty its residents and guests enjoy, the idea of allowing Mirror Pond to disappear simply won’t do. Mirror Pond and the two parks along its banks are, arguably, the most heavily visited spots in the city, and with good reason. The pond itself has formed the visual heart of the community for nearly 100 years, ever since the Pacific Power & Light dam at its north end was built in 1909-10.

City councilors recognized the pond’s importance at their most recent meeting when they told members of their technical advisory committee on the pond that solutions to the river’s sediment problems cannot involve destroying the pond. While councilors say they wish to leave the committee’s options as varied as possible, that one restriction will, or course, limit them at least somewhat.

So be it. Councilors were dead right on this one. Mirror Pond is Bend to many who live and visit here, and because it is, the city must preserve it. That may cost money, but the pond is worthy of our protection.

Source: The Bulletin ©2006

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