Silt problems start farther upriver

I find it interesting that no one seems to address the real concern regarding silt and sediment problems in the Deschutes River.

What about the North Unit Irrigation District and all the related irrigators that seem to continually create stream flow variables that constantly churn up sediment and debris, causing harm to riparian habitats and fish-spawning beds?

Shouldn’t these irrigators be financially responsible and accountable for the river damage their releases and discharges create?

This is not just a problem for Mirror Pond, but their annual irrigation actions affect the whole Deschutes River system. I live upriver from Sunriver (20-plus miles from downtown Bend) and I can recall river water level changes of several feet in just a matter of a day or two, creating turbid murky water conditions downriver until the flow stabilizes — which I assume sends suspended debris particles all the way to Bend.

My section of the river is experiencing major sediment buildup also.

Again, address the source of the problems and have all stakeholders liable for solutions, including North Unit Irrigation District’s and Wickiup Reservoir’s impoundment in your financial solutions.

Duane Wyman
Sunriver

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Offer a prize for an idea for Mirror Pond

I have been following the progress of Mirror Pond and the process of a decision as to how to solve the problem of removing the silt as economically as possible and not breaking the city.

It seems like a really tough problem. Still, there must be an answer somewhere.

There must be a really smart person that has the answer. Perhaps if the power in control would make an offer of, say, $50,000 or so — a prize to the winner of the idea to come forward? There is an old saying, “You usually get what you pay for.”

Gary Robertson
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Remove the dam and let the river run

Remove the Deschutes River dam.

Dredge Mirror Pond.

Geez! People of Bend, look at the bigger picture for a change. Dams are now unpopular and yet, here in Bend, we have the old-fashioned people, living in the past.

When we remove the dam in Bend, we will make the cover of Time magazine, be written about in The New York Times and on and on. People will flock to Bend to see a river run through it instead of what we have now. The small limited picture is to leave things alone. Well, the bigger picture is to remove dams, for a flow of river water and all of the amenities that come with that. The Bend Park & Recreation District could redo Drake Park and use some of that money from the bond issue. Yes, remodel the old-fashioned Drake Park, what a novel idea. And to Millie Nolan’s letter from March 17, I say, “A river runs, it just runs.”

One doesn’t dredge a river, one watches it flow. We are Bend recreationists, so the brochures say. So let’s be “outdoorsy” and remove an old dam — for free-flowing water, traveling downstream from up in the Cascades.

Tom Filcich
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Idea for Mirror Pond

Pacific Power owns the dam that creates a small but profitable return of energy for this facility. The dam is also the cause of the Mirror Pond build-up. The cost to remove the dam and restore its construction area would be significant to Pacific Power. Why not leave things as they are and Pacific Power pays the cost of dredging the river every 10 or 15 years as the silt builds up.

Harold Anderson
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Preserve Mirror Pond

Thank you for printing the view of Cary Robles in the Feb. 26 paper. I am in total agreement about Mirror Pond. I worry that a huge mistake will be made by removing the dam. What will Bend be without our beautiful river and Mirror Pond? Someday there would be a plea to build a dam again so Bend would have another beautiful pond. Bend residents should at least have the chance to vote on the decision.

Not all of us want a mud flat at Drake Park, natural or not. We should take care of this treasure that Bend has and keep it up by more frequent dredging. Thank you again.

Millie Nolan
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Let voters decide about Mirror Pond

Cary Robles’ Feb. 26 In My View article is right on the money. What to do about the silt in the Deschutes River should not be decided by a steering committee, and we certainly should not be spending another $200,000 on another study. He suggests letting the voters decide and I agree.

I read the questionnaire online and it’s good, but answers can be interpreted differently. The dam could be modernized, the silt removed every 15 or 20 years and the river allowed to continue as it is. To restore the Deschutes to the “natural” wild river it used to be would be ridiculous. It’s in the middle of a city with many homes on its banks and many people enjoy it as it is. Let the people hear the facts and vote.

Maralyn Thoma
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013

Musings: This is Bend by Norman Remer

Photo by Ian Poellet
Photo by Ian Poellet

This is Bend.

Many people have understood the importance of historic preservation.

As a city, Bend has done well. There are many historic places, buildings and even a neighborhood.

This is Bend.

Many people have understood the importance of river protection.

As a city, Bend has done well. There are ordinances to protect and enhance the natural aspects of the Deschutes.

This is Bend.

Keep the Dam and Iconic Mirror Pond. At the same time selective dredge and add wetlands and riparian habitat. River flow is increased to keep the silt moving downstream. Water quality is improved. Wild life and river vegetation becomes more diverse. River recreation continues.

This is Bend. We can have it all.

Thank You for reading.

Disclaimer:

I have been incredibly lucky to own and live in a historic Bend home on a stretch of the Deschutes River called Mirror Pond for over a quarter of a century.

Norman Remer

1 NW Rocklyn Rd
Bend, OR 97701

Mirror Pond is new ‘natural’ for Deschutes River in Bend

The consideration of removing the Newport Avenue Dam and losing Mirror Pond, Bend’s beautiful icon, is unbelievable. It is like removing the Empire State Building from New York City, the Lincoln Memorial from Washington, D.C., or the Eiffel Tower from Paris.

Mirror Pond/Drake Park is the most recognizable aspect of Bend. In Bend we put old houses on historical registers to preserve them. Mirror Pond is older than most of them.It needs to be preserved.

Silt is part of river hydraulics; it happens in all of them. Dredging is commonplace in rivers throughout the world. The fact that it will be 30 years since the Deschutes River was dredged in the Mirror Pond area is amazing; it is usually done more often in similar situations. Dredging is considered maintenance in harbors, ports, mouths of rivers and lakes and ponds. Don’t act like it is something unheard of.

There are alternatives to dredging. One idea (shared, but thought of independently, by my friend Carl Vertrees, the retired publisher of The Redmond Spokesman) is to bring the water level down for a month to let the “mud flats” dry out. Bring in excavators and dig up the mud flats, load the excess soil on dump trucks and take it to the landfill to make a topsoil that the Bend area does not have. Sell it for landscaping projects and defray the costs of the soil being removed from the pond. This could be done on both sides of the river from the Newport Bridge to the Galveston Bridge. A project like this or dredging would last another 30 years; it is just maintenance.

The group that would have Mirror Pond destroyed has an attitude that everything “natural” is better. This is the attitude that would remove the Columbia River dams. If done, Jantzen Beach, Hayden Island and Delta Park in North Portland would have to be abandoned. A city there called VanPort floated away in a post-World War II flood — flooding that was mitigated by the Columbia River dams. It would only be a matter of time before flooding would destroy those areas and possibly Portland International Airport.

The Newport Dam could be modernized, the Pacific Power generator replaced with a more efficient one and the structure improved. Pacific Power, the City of Bend, and the Bend Park & Recreation District should be responsible for the costs of dredging or silt removal. We, the residents of Bend, would pay for it through our taxes to Bend and to Parks & Rec and our rates to Pacific Power.

Removing the dam and restoring the river would be much more expensive than dredging. The idea that it should cost $200,000 to decide what to do is ridiculous, and giving the steering committee the right to make the decision is questionable. A vote by residents would be much more reasonable in a decision-making process. Not everyone can or will let their position be known on the Internet. The activist-type people will flood the Internet with their opinions and will be overly represented in the results of the questionnaire. Make your opinion known.

What would an empty Mirror Pond look like? The few pre-1910 pictures of the area before the dam was built illustrate a dangerous river, one where a presidential candidate was drowned while attempting to save a young boy who fell in.

Removing the dam would take away waterfront property from owners that have been there for more than 100 years. You affect the downstream properties, subjecting them with flooding. You affect the upstream properties by pushing the river away from them, reducing their properties’ desirability and value. This opens up the steering committee, the City of Bend and the Bend Park & Recreation District to endless lawsuits.

Maintain Mirror Pond by dredging or silt removal. Preserve the look of the pond; it has become the new “natural.”

— Cary Robles lives in Bend.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©2013

Mirror Pond process flawed

At a Feb. 12 public meeting, Mirror Pond Project leader Jim Figurski doggedly defended the “Visioning Project Questionnaire” now being circulated. He proudly announced that 1,200 had so far been filled out.

He took pains to defend the scientific validity of this questionnaire, which, he said, will help determine the fate of Mirror Pond.

However, the very underpinnings of the questionnaire appear to be fatally flawed. It looks suspiciously like a political push poll: It limits choices to various versions of Mirror Pond as it now exists, and it does not allow consideration of alternatives.

The other problem is the claim this questionnaire will provide an accurate representation of a cross-section of Bend opinion. But, how can we know how statistically representative the sampling is, when the questionnaire does not even ask for the age or income grouping of respondents?

The questionnaire should be rewritten, and we are fortunate in having a data analyst and statistician sitting on the Mirror Pond Management Board — newly elected City Councilor Victor Chudowsky. We should put his professional oversight to work in fashioning a new one.

At the Feb. 12 meeting, Figurski ruled out the possibility of a referendum election to allow the public to vote on alternatives. Lacking this and realizing that tens of thousands in public funds are now being spent in this “visioning” process, it would, at least, be nice to know that a true reading of public opinion will emerge. Please, redo the questionnaire.

Foster Fell
Bend

Source: The Bulletin ©2013