Agencies urge big look at little dam

Three governments with a stake in the fate of Mirror Pond are trying to convince federal decision-makers that a Bend hydroelectric project’s impact far outweighs it size.

In a joint submission being sent to Washington. D.C., today the city of Bend, Deschutes County and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District are urging the Federal Energy· Regulatory Commission lo hold a local hearing on Pacific Power’s downtown hydro dam.

The company is seeking renewal of a 30·year license to operate the dam. The three entities want FERC to require a full environmental impact study. which could cost the company as much as $2 million.

They say such expense is warranted. even though the 83·year·old plant powers fewer than 500 homes and meets just 1 percent of Bend’s power needs. They want a chance to make their case in Bend.

The hydro project created Mirror Pond, which the local governments describe in their letter as a 40-acre Deschutes River reservoir that has become “a focal point of the community.”

Conservation groups, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Interior Department also have intervened. They are raising safety and environmental issues.

The local governments say Pacific Power “has not responded to these issues in any meaningful way.”

Their concerns· include the dam’s structural integrity and the effectiveness of on inflatable rubber tube. called a “crest.” that the company proposes to install along the top of the dam to prevent ice blockages.

Silt buildup caused by the dam is a major problem requiring periodic costly removal, they say. They cite one case in which a child became stuck waist-deep in silt.

Manv of the issues. such as ways to aid Deschutes river fish passage, need to be addressed even if the dam’s turbines are removed, the governments contend.

Duane Blackwelder, a Pacific Power employee, told city commissioners Wednesday that they could cut dredging costs by using a log to sweep the channel and pull up silt. He also raised a fairness issue, saying other dams along the river have escaped similar scrutiny because they don’t generate power.

Commissioner John Wujack responded, “We only have this opportunity for the next 30 years to improve this fish passage.”

Mayor Terry Blackwell said, “We didn’t say they have to dredge the pond, but to address the issue.”

Clark Satre, the company’s regional manager, said the agencies’ request for a larger study “implies that there have been no environmental studies or consideration, and that’s not tho case.”

The cost of energy from the plant, figured over a 30·year period, comes to 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to an estimated 4.7 cent cost for replacement power, Satre said.

He said, “One could argue that’s so small a difference, and so small a project, why would you worry about it? On the other hand, every resource is important as power demands increase.”

Source: The Bulletin ©1993

Comments, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions and Prescriptions from City, County, and Parks & Rec


February 4, 1993

Honorable Lois Cashell Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
825 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20426

Re: PERC Project No. 2643-001, Bend Hydroelectic Project

Dear Ms. Cashell:

Enclosed for filing with the Commission in the project referenced above are the original and 14 copies of COMMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS, TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND PRESCRIPTIONS.

Copies of this document have been served on all parties listed on the attached certificate of service.


John Hossick,
City of Bend Planning Director

The City of Bend, Oregon, Deschutes County, Oregon and the Bend Metropolitan Park & Recreation District jointly submit the following Comments, Recommendations, Terms and Conditions, and Prescriptions in~his proceeding.

1. The City of Bend, Deschutes County, and the Bend Metropolitan Park & Recreation District have previously intervened in this proceeding because they are the local government entities most directly affected by the project which is the subject of this proceeding. They will be referred to as “these intervenors” in this document. The comments of the City of Bend represent the comments of the Bend Development Board, as well as the City.

2. The project consists of a dam on the Deschutes River, related power generating facilities and Mirror Pond, a 40-acre reservoir that stretches upstream adjacent to the central downtown core and residential areas in the City of Bend. Drake Park and five other parks, owned and maintained by the Bend Metropolitan Park and Recreation District occupy 23 acres wlihirf the project reach. Drake Park is a focal point of the community. Mirror Pond and the adjacent Drake Park is an important aesthetic resource as well as recreational resource for the community. In addition to its aesthetic qualities, the Pond supports recreational use by canoeists, kayakers and casual fishermen. Immediately downstream from the project along the river lies the offices for the Bend Metropolitan Park and Recreation District and Pacific and Pioneer Parks. The stretch of river below the project is used by both fishermen and boaters.

3. Pursuant to 18 C.F.R. § 384.212 these intervenors respectfully request that the Commission prepare a draft environmental impact statement which includes at least those areas of investigation identified in the attached Proposed Scope of Work for the Bend Hydro Electric Project EIS. This request is based on the following grounds, which these intervenors believe raise substantial questions concerning significant degradation of human environmental factors:

3.1 The threshold requirement for protection of the public is identification of the exact environmental consequences that will be produced by this project. These environmental consequences can be much better identified and evaluated with an EIS, than without one.

3.2 The public safety and environmental issues which are set out below in this document demonstrate the need for preparation of an EIS. The nature and extent of the public safety and environmental considerations involved in these issues will be better identified and evaluated by the preparation of an EIS. This will in turn allow the Commission to fully exercise its planning and decision making responsibilities under the Federal Power Act.

3.3 In addition to the public safety and environmental considerations set out below which directly affect the City of Bend, Deschutes county and the Bend Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, other environmental issues have been raised by other intervening parties (i.e., American Rivers, Oregon Rivers Council, Oregon Trout, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, u.s. Department of the Interior and others). The environmental issues raised by these other intervenors furnish additional support for requiring an EIS. These intervenors support those comments, except as they might be interpreted to call for removal of the dam.

3.4 These intervenors have previously raised the public safety and environmental issues set out below with the applicant PacifiCorp, both directly with applicant, and in this proceeding. Applicant has not responded to these issues in any meaningful way that would resolve the issues raised by these intervenors. This fact suggests very strongly that applicant either does not kno~ether there are adequate responses, or that adequate responses may not exist. This in turn provides a compelling reason for an environmental impact statement.

4. Irrespective of whether an EIS is prepared, this project raises many public safety and environmental issues which, under the Federal Power Act (as amended by the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986), the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, must be considered and provision made to mitigate adverse consequences produced by the project.

The Commission is required under section 10(a) of the Federal Power Act to assess project impacts in the context of a comprehensive plan for the entire basin. LaFlamme v. 842 F. 2d 1063 (9th Cir. 1988). Under the 1986 amendment to the FPA, state comprehensive plans are required to be given consideration by the commission. These intervenors assert that the status of the project as an existing project may not be used to lessen the burden on the applicant to demonstrate compliance with the Federal Power Act. Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation v. FERC, 746 F 2d 466 (9th Cir. 1984), cert den 471 u.s. 1116, 105 s. ct. 2358, 86 L.Ed. 2d 259 (1985).

The identified public safety and environmental issues are raised whether the project is relicensed as a power generating facility or whether it is relicensed with a nonpower license and remains as a dam across the Deschutes River. These public safety and environmental issues include the following:

4.1 The structural integrity of the dam itself must be thoroughly evaluated as it now exists, and over the term of any relicensing period. This evaluation should include, but not be limited to, certification from a structural engineer verifying the soundness of the dam and any proposed modifications. severe flooding due to ice blockage caused by the dam has occurred in the past, and there are public safety concerns about the possibility of reoccurrence. The effectiveness of the rubber crest control device which is to be installed to alleviate ice damming must be verified. In addition the need to raise or lower water levels in Mirror Pond to deal with other public safety considerations (such as weed control, police searches, and dam maintenance), must be addressed. Provision must also be made for backup measures if the existing control devices fail.

4.2 Siltation is a major problem in Mirror Pond. This impacts the public safety, aesthetic, and recreational attributes of Mirror Pond. Considerable public funds have been spent in the past to dredge Mirror Pond. The siltation buildup is caused by the dam and the siltation will have to be removed on a regular basis.

These problems are aggravated by public presence in the pond during low water (i.e., children and pets have become exposed to the silt, and at least one child became stuck waist deep in the silt and had to be rescued by public authorities). There is a real possibility that hazardous materials, washed into Mirror Pond with storm water runoff, will combine with the siltation to produce a disastrous hazardous waste situation in the pond itself. Measures that must be taken by the applicant to deal with this issue are collection of data on the rate of siltation, chemical sampling of materials contained in the silt, development of ways and means to remove and dispose of the silt, and evaluation of the impact of the siltation on fisheries, upland habitat, adjoining residences, recreation, hydrology, and water quality. There must be a timetable for the removal of siltation, and a requirement that applicant pay the cost of remedying siltation problems caused by the project.

4.3 The public safety aspect of maintenance of the dam must be taken into account whether the project is relicensed as a power generating facility or not. Whether the project is not relicensed for power generation or not, provision must be made for relocation of the existing substation, and the property at the project should be in public ownership and developed for public recreational use. This would include maintaining the historic integrity of the powerhouse, and its possible designation as an historic site/structure. Provision must be made for access to the “island” downstream from the dam. The deteriorating condition of rock retaining walls along Mirror Pond, and the deferred maintenance required for the footbridge at Mirror Pond are matters of urgent public concern. Engineering surveys and cost estimates for remedial action must be obtained.

4.4 The City of Bend’s land use laws and regulations require that a conditional use permit be obtained for any modifications to the project. These land use laws and regulations are expressly for the protection of the public safety and welfare. The city of Bend’s zoning ordinance contains numerous requirements for granting a conditional use permit, and provides that the permit may be conditioned upon performance of various terms and conditions. One requirement is for a detailed plan for a water conservation and stream enhancement program to be funded by a portion of revenues generated by the operation of the proposed facility. see Bend Code Section 10.10.25(20) (d) (5). In addition to City zoning ordinance requirements, the City’s, County’s and Bend Metropolitan Park and Recreation District’s comprehensive plans and river studies all have some application to this site, and set out planning considerations that must be taken into account. The City of Bend is also in the process of adopting a river design review ordinance that will affect modifications to the project.

4.5 The Bend Development Board is the City of Bend’s Urban Renewal Agency, and the focal point of its Urban Renewal Plan is riverfront enhancement. This requires relocation of the existing power substation electrical apparatus because of its negative aesthetics, interference with recreational opportunities and obstruction of open space. Other objectives of the BDB are development of park improvements in the area, and provision for public access along the river. The BDB, as well as these intervenors are very much aware of the huge importance of Mirror Pond to the economic and social fabric of the Bend community. Tourism is a major economic activity, and the attractiveness of Mirror Pond is a major contributor to that activity. The Bend Chamber of Commerce has just completed a Tourism Impact study which shows that the visitor industry brings $328 million to the Central Oregon economy from 3,431,525 visitors a year.

4.6 Public recreation is an important environmental issue. The completion of the Deschutes River trail through downtown Bend is an important objective. Public access along the east bank of the river through applicant’s and next to the project to connect Drake Park to Pioneer Park is an essential part of this objective. The trail easement should be a minimum of 40 feet wide along an approximate 800 foot stretch through applicant’s property. Other features of the trail include pedestrian passage under the Newport Bridge (which is just upstream from the dam), and acquisition of a trail easement from other private properties which are within the project reach. In addition to the trail, public recreational opportunities should include boat use, portages, landings and the like. Public canoe/kayak use requires minimum verifiable stream flows of 500 cfs in the bypass reach (this is one of only two areas with flowing river water in the city). These intervenors believe it is incumbent on the applicant to provide the recreational amenities described above. Provision for recreational opportunities is specifically contemplated by 16 u.s.c. § 803(a)(1), and 16 u.s.c. S 797(e).

4.7 Fisheries and wildlife are important aspects of the environmental issues raised by this project. These intervenors incorporate by reference the comments, Recommendations and Terms and conditions of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) dated February 4, 1993, concerning this project on file with the Commission. Minimum verifiable stream flows of not less than 300 cfs in the bypass reach must be provided. Adequate provision for fish passage up and down stream must be provided, whether the project is relicensed as a power generation facility, or if it continues as a dam only. Spawning habitat enhancement, upland and riparian habitat protection, duck and goose population control, and rodent control are other features of the project that must be taken into account. The fishery issues are of particular importance to these intervenors, given that the u.s. Forest Service, Deschutes County, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and local irrigation districts are cooperatively engaged in implementing a fisheries mitigation and enhancement program, funded in part by revenues from the COID project previously licensed by the commission. Improvement of fish passage and spawning opportunities along the mainstream Upper Deschutes, including the project reach, is an objective of these efforts. (See enclosed copy of Deschutes River Mitigation and Enhancement Program Plan, May 1991, by this reference incorporated herein.)

4.8 Funding to finance the cost of mitigating the project’s public safety and environmental consequences should be partially provided from the project’s revenues. The funding mechanism required by the commission for the Central Oregon Irrigation District’s co-generation project- FERC No. 3571) several miles upstream from this project can serve as a model. A portion of the project’s revenues should be placed in a fund, and the fund should be dedicated to assisting the financing of measures and acquisitions needed to meet the public safety and environmental issues raised by the project.
Because the project’s revenues are limited, applicant should be required to fund its responsibilities outlined here from other sources. The Deschutes River Trust is a fund that is being established by private groups interested in the river, and any such trust could he used for this purpose.

5. The undersigned local government entities also request that the commission conduct a field hearing in Bend so that the importance of these public safety and environmental issues concerning this project can be confirmed by public testimony, and an on-site evaluation of the project.

6. Because the commission has not completed the environmental review required by NEPA prior to calling for comments, these intervenors assert that the commission must provide an additional comment period, with notice, for additional comments, recommendations and prescriptions after making public the results of its environmental review.

DATED this 3rd day of February, 1993.

Respectfully submitted,
By: Terry Blackwell, Mayor

By: Tom Throop, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners

By: Ernie Drapela, General Manager

Full Document: city-county-parks-comments (PDF)

Future clouded for Mirror Pond dam

Historic powerhouse on Deschutes River in Bend may be shut down after 81 years of use
Historic powerhouse on Deschutes River in Bend may be shut down after 81 years of use

The dam and powerhouse that formed Bend’s Mirror Pond and sent the first electricity surging through the community 81 years ago now faces an uncertain future.

PacifiCorp, owner of the historic facility that sits on the east bank of the Deschutes River near downtown Bend, is seeking a renewal of its federal license for the project.

But some local government officials are urging PacifiCorp to permanently shut down the powerhouse, which provides only a tiny fraction of the electricity used in Central Oregon.

Others see the relicensing application as an opportunity to address for the first time environmental problems—such as heavy sediment buildup in Mirror Pond—that is partially caused by the power plant.

Meanwhile, PacifiCorp even has suggested the possibility of removing the powerhouse and the dam—a move, which is unlikely, that would have a dramatic effect on the appearance of downtown Bend.

It will be months before a final decision is made. But these issues will be discussed Wednesday when PacifiCorp officials come to Bend for an all-day meeting with city, county, park district and other government representatives.

City and county officials plan to press PacifiCorp to make major improvements to the dam, and ask the company to commit to sharing the future costs of removing silt that backs up into Mirror Pond. In 1984, the community spent several hundred thousand dollars to dredge the pond; already, the work is needed again.

Too, those agencies want the utility to reduce the size of its substation, take steps to protect fish from the power turbines and provide public access through the site for a continuation of the Deschutes River Trail.

“We see this as a great opportunity,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tom Throop. “This power project has had far-reaching effects on Bend, and we’ve never been in a position before to influence its operation.”

The Bend Metro Park and Recreation District, meanwhile, has joined the National Park Service in requesting that PacifiCorp retire the powerhouse. The Park Service is required by law to review federal dam relicensing applications.

Ernio Drapela, park district director, said he favors shutting down the powerhouse but preserving the historic brick building and the dam.

Shutting down the powerhouse, which illuminated a total of 375 light bulbs when the turbines began spinning in 1910, would have little effect on Bend today.

The powerhouse now produces less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the electricity deliverer by Pacific Power to customers in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.

Source: The Bulletin ©1991

Project on pond delayed

Bend’s scenic Mirror Pond will not be dredge this year.

The city commission Wednesday rejected all three contractors’ bids for dredging the pond and decided to rebid the project for completion as late as next May.

The pond is actually a swollen mile-long stretch of the Deschutes River between Galveston Avenue and Newport Avenue bridges, created by a Pacific Power & Light Co. dam.

Over the years, the pond has been filling slowly with sediment and vegetation, a condition that many local residents think looks and often smells bad.

Monday, city officials learned that three bids submitted by contractors to dredge the bottom of the pond were far above the $239,000 estimated cost.

Contractors saw too much financial risk in agreeing to do the work in cold fall weather on a schedule that would have required completion of the project in six or seven weeks, siad Tom Gellner, public works director. That conclusion, he said, comes from talking with 12 of the 15 contractors who had obtained bid specifications.

The rejected bids were from Marine Construction & Dredging, Mt. Vernon, Wash., $426,040; Jackson Marine Co., Vancover, Wash., $496,500; and Chinook Pacific Corp., Salem, $547,500.

 Source: The Bulletin ©1983

Dredge project gets official nod

After a month of waiting, the city of Bend finally has received a letter of agreement from the federal government that will allow the dredging of Mirror Pond.

City Manager Art Johnson said he received the letter this morning. It is an agreement between the city and the state Department of Environmental Quality, which is administering a $150,000 grant to the city from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson said he will sign it and hand-deliver it back to the DEQ office in Portland on Friday.

The letter was a prerequisite for the dredging work, because any work done before it was signed would not have been covered by the grant.

Johnson said he hopes the work can start by the beginning of September. However, he won’t know when work can begin until he meets with an EPA official from Seattle to review a checklist of things the city must do to comply with federal environmental regulations.

After that meeting, the city will draw up specifications for the work and solicit bids.

The $150,000 represents half of the estimated cost of the entire project. The other half will be contributed from local sources. The city and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District will each pay $50,000. Pacific Power & Light Co. will contribute $30,000 and the remaining $20,000 will come from community donations.

Although the money comes from the federal government, the state has an agreement with the EPA to dole out the grant money to the city as necessary until the project is done.


Source: The Bulletin

Mirror Pond dredge grant still in limbo

The federal Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no hurry to make a decision on whether to award a $150,00 grant to Bend to dredge Mirror Pond.

City Manager Art Johnson who has been expecting to hear from the agency for the past few weeks, told city commissioners Wednesday he’s been told the agency may not decide on the grant until the end of the month.

Johnson got the information fron Paul Unger, an assistant to Congressman Bob Smith in Washington, D.C. Johnson said Unger reported that the review of the city’s grant application is in the final stage of the agency’s decision process.

The city had hoped the dredging of the mile-long pond would have begun by now. City Engineer Tom Gellner said this morning that the project would take at least five months to complete from the time the city gets word the grant has been approved.

Source: The Bulletin ©1983

Mirror Pond dregde grant still in limbo

The federal Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no hurry to make a decision on whether to award a $150,000 grant to Bend to dredge Mirror Pond.

City Manager Are Johnson, who has been expecting to hear from the agency for the past few weeks, told city commissioners Wednesday he’s been told the agency may not decide on the grant until the end of this month.

Johnson got that information from Paul Unger, an assistant to Congressman Bob Smith in Washington, D.C. Johnson said Unger reported that the review of the city’s grant application is in the final stage of the agency’s decision process.

The city had hoped the dredging of the mile-long pond would have begun by now. City Engineer Tom Gellner said this morning that the project would take at least five months to complete from the time the city gets word the grant has been approved.

Source: The Bulletin ©1983

Group presents pond petition to commission

After years of talk, meetings and studies, a concrete step was taken Wednesday night toward rehabilitating Bend’s Mirror Pond.

Ray Babb, who lives on NW Drake Road, presented the city commission with a petition signed by residents of the area near the pond asking the city to forma a local improvement district to finance part of the cost of dredging the scenic pond.

The estimated cost of the project is $300,000.

Homeowners and other private property owners would pay an estimated $102,500, while the city would pay $23,5000 and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District would pay about $175,000. Of the park district’s share, $50,000 would be raised through a fund drive.

The park-fringed, mile long pond has been filling with silt and vegetation over the years, threatening recreational activities and producing occasional foul odors.

Neighbors whose homes surround the pond met last summer to decide who should be included in the improvement district and how much of the financial burden they should shoulder.

The commission is expected to take official action forming the district Dec. 15.

In other action Wednesday, the commission:

-Set aside $15,295 in state grant money to help establish a 911 emergency telephone dispatch network in Deschutes County.

-Heard the first reading of a new industrial waste ordinance setting standards for businesses to follow in discharging wastes into the city’s sewer system.

Source: The Bulletin ©1982

Mirror Pond Rehabilitation Study 1981

Mirror Pond Rehab Study 1981 final_Page_01



August, 1981

Diagnostic-Feasibility Study
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Clean Lakes Program

Prepared for
The City of Bend
and the
Bend Parks and Recreation District

Winzler and Kelly
Consulting Engineers
1730 S.W. Skyline Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97221

Clark and Joyce, Inc.
Consulting Engineers
1132 N.E. 2nd Street
Bend, Oregon 97701


This Mirror Pond Rehabilitation Study was financed by the City of Bend, Bend Metro Park and Recration District and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality through a grant  provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The following people participated in the study and provided valuable input:

Arthur R. Johnson, City Manager
Thomas Gellner, City Engineer
Vince Genna, Bend Metro Park & Recreation District
Peggy Sawyer, Bend Chamber of Commerce
Dick Nichols, D.E.Q.
Peter Ressler, D.E.Q.
Mirror Pond Committee Members
Harold Baughman
Robert Bristol
Reed Nelson


A. Location and Access

Mirror Pond is located in the developed portion of Bend (see Figure 1) . . It stretches from the Pacific Power & Light Co. Dam to Galveston Avenue, a distance of about one mile. Over the years, private homes have been developed along the pond’s edge, primarily on the westerly side of the river. Drake Park fronts most of the pond on the easterly side of the river, and three smaller parks, Harmon· Park, Pageant Park and Brooks Park border portions of the pond on the westerly side. All of these parks provide public access to the pond area. Access to the parks is over public streets and walkways located adjacent to the parks.

B. Diagnostic Study

Siltation of Mirror Pond has curtailed much of the former recreational use of the pond. In addition to  reducing depths, siltation has encouraged excessive growth of aquatic vegetation that further interferes with boating, fishing, and swimming and creates unpleasant odors at times. Promotion of vegetative growth is related to the shallow depths, which provide sufficient light at the bottom to encourage seedling growth. The purpose of this investigation, funded by a Clean Lakes Program Phase I grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is to recommend methods of rehabilitating the pond in order to restore beneficial uses.

Water quality data assembled for this study reveals no drastic increase associated with the Bend urban area in any water quality parameter that could contribute to eutrophication. Biological oxygen demand levels above and below Bend do not indicate gross organic pollution, but sufficient levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are available in the Deschutes River upstream from Bend to promote eutrophication.

Sufficient historical data to indicate sedimentation rates in the pond is lacking. Sediment chemistry analyses, provided by the City of Bend, reveal that sediment nutrient concentrations increase in the deeper sediments.

No single source or land use can be blamed for eutrophication or sedimentation problems in Mirror Pond, since the water quality problem in the Deschutes River is related to overall intensive use of the watershed. Likely sources of sediment and pollutants include:

  • natural sediment load
  • faulty septic systems
  • agricultural runoff
  • sediments from failed riverbanks
  • turf fertilization

Mirror Pond acts as a settling pond to accept nutrient-enriched sediment from all of these sources. Riverbank failure, aggravated by artificial water level fluctuation and power boat wakes, is widely believed to be the major sediment contributor. Point sources of sediment include historical upstream uses of the river as a log pond and ongoing influx of road cinders from City of Bend storm drains.

C. Feasibility Study

Rehabilitation efforts will be directed at resolving the primary problem – siltation and the resulting shallow water depths. Some alleviation of the secondary problem of aquatic plant growth is expected, but dredging beyond the depths allowed by funding would be necessary to achieve a long-term suppression of plants. The availability of nutrients in sediments and water is not susceptible to control within the limits of this program, since the sources of nutrients are dispersed.throughout the watershed.

Bucket and hydraulic dredging methods were investigated. Based on lower cost, fewer turbidity problems, and lesser impacts on· park and residential areas, hydraulic dredging was selected. The floating hydraulic dredge employs a pump with the suction inlet behind a rotating cutter that transforms bottom sediments into a slurry. A series of four or five booster pumps will be used to pump the slurry by pipeline to the disposal sites, where settling ponds will dewater the sediment and clarify the tailwater before return to the river.

Alternative projects were identified by dividing the project area at the footbridge into areas designated as “Newport” (north) and “Galveston” (south) (see Figure 9). The dredging depths considered were 5 feet and 8 feet, result,ipg in the following possible project components, shown with their construction costs (engineering and administration would add 15 percent):

Area · Dredge Depth · Cost
Newport · 5 feet · $128,500
Newport · 8 feet · $242,900
Newport · 8 feet & Galveston · 5 feet · $346,800
Newport & Galveston · 8 feet · $389,800
Newport & Galveston · 5 feet · $232,300

The apparent best project, as determined by discussions with the City of Bend, the Bend Parks and Recreation District, and the Mirror Pond.·(Citizens Advisory) Committee, is to dredge both the Newport and Galveston areas to 5 feet (see Figure 10). This will allow resumption of recreational use of the lake and provide some measure of vegetation control. Because of cost considerations, the construction of new islands using dredged material, suggested in earlier discussions, has been deleted. The material will be dredged as uniformly as ‘possible to obtain maximum project benefits.

The selected project will generate about 60,000 cubic yards of dredged material. Two upland disposal sites were investigated. The chosen site, designated Site B 2, is located about 5600 feet south of the Galveston.Avenue bridge, with a capacity of 82,800 cubic yards. (See Figure 11.) Investigations of sediment size and chemistry suggest that an effluent of acceptable quality can be returned to the river after settling and final clarification in a settling. basin. Property owner permission will be required for use of the disposal site, as well as for portions of the route for the temporary dredge pipe. Disposal site property owners have been contacted, and they have indicated a desire to receive the dredged material for ‘fill.

Project funding is expected to be provided by equal contributions from the City of Bend and a Phase II Clean Lakes Program grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which will be pursued at the conclusion of this Phase I study. Dredging is tentatively take place during the spring of 1982.

A post-project monitoring program is required by Clean Water Program rules. Since DEQ already monitors water quality at a number of stations in the vicinity, and since the primary objective of the project is depth increase, the monitoring program will emphasize sedimentation rates and effectiveness in aquatic vegetation suppression. Simultaneously, the City of Bend will pursue additional programs to protect the pond, including cinder collection by storm drain catch basins, ·completion of the City sewage collection and treatment system, and cooperative programs with other agencies to control upstream sediment and pollution sources.


A. Location and Access

Mirror Pond is located in the developed portion of Bend (see Figure 1). It stretches from the Pacific Power & Light Co. Dam to Galveston Avenue, a distance of about one mile. Over the years, private homes have been developed along the pond’s edge, primarily on the westerly side of the river. Drake Park fronts most of the pond on the easterly side of the river, and three smaller parks, Harmon Park, Pageant Park and Brooks Park border portions of the pond o.n the westerly side. All of these parks provide public access to the pond area. Access to the parks is over public streets and walkways located adjacent to the parks.

Boat ramps are not provided along· the waterfront. Motors are prohibited on Mirror Pond, and because of limited access, pond use is limited primarily to row boats, canoes and inflatable rafts.

B. Geological Description and Soils

The geological history of the Deschutes Water Basin is one of recurring volcanic activity, dating back nearly 40 million years. The Newberry Volcano was the last major volcanic activity affecting the basin. _Basalt, the most common material erupted from the volcano, forms much of the surface of the basin. Ash from the Newberry Volcano and other volcanoes near Broken Top and South Sister also covers large areas of the basin. The Deschutes River flows through these volcanic deposits of basaltic rock, ash, cinders and pumice before entering Bend.

Soils in the Deschutes basin are developed from basaltic material, pumice, ash and glacial till. The major soil associa­tion is Shanahan, which consists primarily of loamy sand. The area is dominated by cold, excessively drained ashy soils on level, moderately steep and steep uplands These soils are not suited for agricultural uses unless supplemented with other fine soils and organic material.

Mirror Pond was created on the Deschutes River by the construction of a power dam. The impact on groundwater created by the pond is .insignificant compared to the Deschutes River, which. flows over miles of fractured basal tic rock upstream from the City of Bend.· If any exfiltration did occur when the pond was originally created, the sediment deposits have probably reduced the rate o.E exfiltration over the years.

The ground elevation” in Bend is 3,600 feet. The drainage basin rises in a southerly direction to elevation 6,600 feet 50 miles south· of Bend. Between Benham Falls, 10 mile.s south of Bend, and Mirror Pond, there .is approximately 1,000 feet difference in elevation. Numerous rapids and falls are located on the river within these limits. South. of Benham Falls, there are fewer rapids and the slope is more uniform to the upper end of the drainage basin.

Project Location. Figure 1
Project Location. Figure 1

C. Population Description

In 1978 it was estimated that 33,’000 people live in the Bend urban area, representing about 66% of the county population. The area has experienced one of the highest rates of growth in the state during the last five years.

The community enjoys the benefits of the park system adjacent to Mirror Pond in Bend. Many organized activities are coordinated by the Park and Recreation District in the parks and on the pond. The primary beneficiaries of these activities are local residents. In addition to the organized activities, the people seek the leisure activities and the beauty of the area which the pond and park system provide. Studies show a higher than average number of retired people residing in the County. It is surmised that retired people seek health, recreation, and other social activities that are provided in the County.

It is difficult to project the population increase for the County because of the rapid rate of.increase experienced during the last few years. It is anticipated that the rate of growth wil 1 decrease in the future, but projections of a 4 .5% annual increase have been made by the County in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mirror Pond Rehab Study 1981 final_Page_13
The population growth for Deschutes County is shown in Figure 2.

Historical Lake Uses

It is impossible to address the historical uses of Mirror Pond without also discussing· the adjacent park uses, because the two function as a single entity.

In the early days,. the acreage along the east bank of the Deschutes River, a swift flowing river until a power dam was constructed in 190;, was owned by The Bend Company.

The Hunter Brothers, owners of The Bend Company, had purchased from A.M. Drake, founder of the City, the power company, an irrigation company, a sawmill, timber stand and the acreage along the east side of the river.

The Bend Company held the east-side property in.reserve for future commercial or industrial development, and operated a lumber mill on the west side of the river. The east-side area remained a sort of “no mans land” through the pioneer days.

In 1921, The Bend Company sold the acreage along the east bank of the river to the City of Bend. The City designated the acreage as a park and named it Drake Park.

Mirror Pond provided an ideal place for youngsters to fish in early days. It remains a good place for them to fish, and an annual fish derby is held, usually during the opening days of the fishing season. ·

Bend residents decided in the early 1930’s to revive the traditional Fourth of July celebration to keep people in town over the holiday. This was the beginning of the Bend Mirror Pond Pageant, which started on July 4, 1933. The Pageant featured floats drifting in Mirror Pond. Each year more extravagant. displays were made for the event. Lighted arches were placed in the river and served as a portal for the floats. The show attracted as many as 10,000 people to the event.

Eventually the Pageant became too costly for the City. In addition, the siltation of Mirror Pond made it increasingly difficult to float any unit along the park banks. In 1965 the annual Bend Mirror Pond Pageant fetes ended.

Long-time residents tel.l about swimming in Mirror Pond. The water was cold and deep. Eventually though, swimming became more hazardous as debris and sediment accumulated in the slack waters. Concern arose that swimmers would become entangled in the weeds that were growing from the bottom of the pond. The City fathers lowered the pond water level and attempted to remove the weeds by pulling them by hand, usually from rafts and boats. Today, swimming is prohibited in Mirror Pond by City Ordinance.

Drake Park and Mirror Pond remain the focal point for programs and activities sponsored by the Bend Park and Recreation District and various civic groups. The pond itself is seldom
used in conjunction with these activities because of its shallow depth in areas adjacent to the park.

The Bend Park and Recreation District provides boating activities for teenagers and adults as part of the summer recreation program. This program is limited in scope because of the danger of boating on the swifter water where sufficient depth remains for boating activities. Water safety programs, usually conducted closer to. shore in calmer water, are difficult to provide on Mirror Pond today.

The pond provides a habitat for many species of waterfowl. Most of the fowl are wild, but hand feeding has encouraged· some of them to become tame. They provide much enjoyment to the young and old visitors to Mirror Pond. Protected nesting places allow them to replenish their numbers each year. To many people, the waterfowl are the greatest attraction in the area.

E. Comparative Recreational Value

Mirror Pond provides a type of use and enjoyment that could only be provided by a lake within the urban area. Its accessibility to people in the community provides an attraction one can enjoy without having to travel great distances. Lakes, rivers· and ponds historically attract people for leisure and recreation. An attractive lake within an urbanized area provides beauty and enjoyment that the whole community can enjoy.



H. Land Use and Eutrophication: Point and Non-point Sources

From the previous discussion of Deschutes River water quality above and below Mirror Pond, it is evident that no single source or land use can be blamed for eutrophication problems in Mirror Pond, since the water quality problem in the Deschutes is related to overall intensive use of the watershed. Land uses in the surrounding watershed are illustrated in Figure 4. Figures 5 through 8 illustrate the condition of the Deschutes River in the vicinity of Bend with respect to a number of important water quality parameters. This series of figures was extracted from the Oregon DEQ’s 1978 Statewide Assessment of Non-Point Source problems.

Examination of the land use map shows that as the river flows toward Bend, it likely receives sediment and pollutants from a wide variety of sources, including:

  • natural sediment load
  • faulty septic systems
  • agricultural runoff-manure, sediments, and fertilizers
  • sediments from failed riverbanks
  • turf fertilization-residential and park

Mirror Pond acts as a settling pond to accept nutrient-enriched sediments from all of these sources. Riverbank failure is widely believed to be the major sediment contributor. Riverbank erosion caused by water level regulation has been reduced in recent years by slowing the rate of water level fluctuation.

A recent paper by McCammon (1980) postulates other causes for sedimentation from eroded banks. Low winter flows subject the exposed pumice banks to frost heave. Higher summer flows tend to move this material downriver. The low river gradient in this stretch of the river, however, results in rapid deposition. The river, in turn, responds during high flows by lateral migration with further bank cutting. The extent of the streambank cutting has been documented in a Photographic Streambank Inventory conducted by Century Testing Laboratories for the U.S. Forest Service in 1978.

Power boat activity, in particular, has been demonstrated by Garvin (1977) to aggravate the bank cutting and sediment movement problem in the stretch of the Deschutes River between the Wickiup reservoir and Bend. Garvin concludes from sample observations that “The sediment produaed by boats alone during less than 1/3 of the year is estimated to be 28 pe:tcent of the total sediment produced. However, sediment produced by boating causes the sediment load of the river to be increased by 39 percent.” The paper summarizes various regulations that could be implemented to
reduce power boat impact.

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Other sources of pollution are considered point source discharges and include man made facilities or operations that result in increased sediment or debris loading of the waters.

The power dam constructed in 1909 created Mirror Pond. The slack water in the pond at lows particles carried by the river or discharged into the pond to settle to the bottom. The depths of the sediment in the pond, varying from 2 feet to over 8 feet, have been accumulating since the dam was constructed.

The river was used as a log pond for many years by the Brooks and Shevlin-Hixon logging companies. A dam was constructed south of Mirror Pond in 1916 at its present location near the railway trestle. “Brooks’ logs were stored on the east side of the river and Shevlin-Hixon logs were stored on the west side. Log booms were used to control the operations. The logging operations probably resulted in dirt and debris being deposited in the river. Some of the material may have washed over the dam and into Mirror Pond, but most of the material settled above the mill pond dam in the slack water. In 1975 a mill pond was constructed on the east side of the river. This pond is separated from the river and no dirt or debris enters the river from the logging operations.

The Bend Company operated a sawmill for many years on the west side of the river where Harmon Park is now located. Available records and pictures do not indicate that The Bend Company used Mirror Pond as a log pond, but debris probably washed into the pond. This is no longer a concern, because the mill was never reconstructed after it burned to the ground.

Additional sources of sediment are from storm drains discharging runoff from developed portions of Bend. This runoff carries silt, debris and cinders from the developed areas directly into the river. This source is small in comparison with the upstream erosive action. It is estimated that 50 to 100 cubic yards of cinders wash into Mirror Pond annually through the City storm drain system. If sedimentation has been uniform since the dam was constructed, this represents about 5% of the source. This is a source, however, that is most apparent to the public, and action should” be taken to reduce sediment from this source.

I. Fish and Wildlife Considerations

Conversations with the ‘Bend office of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reveal that Mirror Pond has an important function in providing wildlife habitat.within an essentially urban area.

The most visible wildlife component at the pond consists of waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and songbirds in various degrees of domestication. Particularly important to the waterfowl are the islands in the southern part of the pond, which provide for the birds nesting habitat secure from domestic and wild predators and people.

Mammals associated with Mirror Pond include primarily mink, raccoon, and otter. Removal of vegetation may reduce cover for these animals, but they are sufficiently mobile to relocate in the abundant habitat located nearby outside the urban area.

Fish species include resident species such as brown trout, whitefish, roach, and rainbow trout (stocked), and migrators such as sockeye salmon and an occasional Coho from Wickiup Reservoir.

Important invertebrates include the freshwater shrimp, crawfish, and various aquatic insects. Crawfish are utilized by residents as food and bait.

The primary wildlife issues with respect to dredging in Mirror Pond include:

Full Document: Mirror Pond Rehab Study 1981 final

Mirror Pond Rehabilitation Meeting 1-15-1981

Subject: Mirror Pond Rehabilitation
Date: Jan. 15, 1981
Location: Clark & Joyce, Inc.

Participants: Harold Baughman – PP & L
Ted Fies – Fish and Wildlife
Tom Gellner – City Engineer
John Hassick – City Planner
Vince Genna – Bend Park & Rec. Dist.
Richard Dornhelm – Winzler & Kelly
Maury Clark – Clark & Joyce, Inc.
John Joyce – Clark & Joyce, Inc.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the initial steps of the study for the Mirror Pond Rehabilitation proj­ect, which is being performed by Winzler & Kelly/ Clark & Joyce, Inc. It also provided an opportunity for the rep­ resented agencies/firms to give information to the engineers regarding concerns and restrictions that have to be addressed in the study.

John Joyce recommended that a citizens advisory committee be formed to provide additional local input into the study. The committee should not include technical representatives of agencies/firms, because they will be routinely included in the review process. Vince Genna suggested the Park District Board appoint 2 members and the City of Bend appoint 3 members. The committee size was agreed to, and Tom Gellner and Vince Genna will ask the City and Park District to appoint these members.

John Hassick suggested the need to coordinate with the irrigation districts because of the concern they may have on water flows and turbidity. The irrigation districts have about one domestic run a month during the winter. The run may last a few days, and turbidity would be a con­cern if the pond water level had been lower just prior to the run. Harold Baughman stated that during the irrigation season the water level can’t be lowered sigficantly, because the river flow is greater than the dam by-pass capacity. If an adequate diversion at the dam is achieved PP&L will consider lowering the water level for a definite time.

The sediment samples previously analyzed don’t show the location of the samples. Tom Gellner will check to determine if the locations were recorded.

Vince Genna advised that the Batell Institute has conducted a study on types of plants in the Deschutes River.

This study should be available from the Forest Service. According to Ted Fies, most of the plants are the same as those in reservoirs. John Joyce will check with Central Oregon Community College to determine if they have analyzed plant life in Mirror Pond. If COCC provides future analysis and services on this project, the cost may be included in the local share for the project.

Vince Genna has photographs taken from the air that show the sediment buildup in parts of Mirror Pond. These photos. are available for the engineer’s use and review.

The siltation process is going to continue because of the severe bank erosion upstream, according to Ted Fies. The high volume and changing levels of the river, caused by irrigation flows, result in severe bank erosion. There have been studies performed on this problem, and they are available at the Forest Service office. Tod pointed out that turbidity will be of greatest concern from October through March, because of down stream spawning. Mirror Pond is not considered significant as a spawning area, rather it is a rearing area. There will probably be some advantages as a fish habitat if the capacity of the pond is increased by removal of some of the sediment.

Adding islands with trees may present additional problems, because of the view restrictions. The Park District won’t encourage  use of Mirror Pond for “in-water recreation.” Boating and canoeing will be encouraged when the water depth is increased. There should be a boat ramp provided for those activities. Harold Baughman recommended the ramp be located at a point whore the river is least apt to freeze, because there has been a need to rescue people from the thin ice on occasion.

Tho ice problem at Tumalo Bridge area was discussed. Ice forms .on tho bottom of the river (anchor ice), builds up and then breaks loose. This phenomenon has resulted in an ice jam at the bridge. Harold stated that they will open the by-pass gate at the dam to increase the velocity at the bridge, if they are aware of the problem soon enough. It is anticipated that the higher velocity will reduce the possibility of an ice jam. This problem should be considered if there are proposed changes to Mirror Pond as a result of the rehabilitation.

The City of Bend wip provide tho following data and information:

  1. Two copies of Mirror Pond X-Sections.
  2. Location of samples and basis for analysis.
  3. Data relative to types of plants, if available.
  4. Names of Citizens Advisory Committee.
  5. Copy of Storm drain maps.

Notes of Meeting by: John Joyce