Bottom Gates of Dam Closed And Pond Starts to Fill Again

Bottom gates of the power dam were closed over the week-end, backing water upstream partly to cover the mud bottoms that have been exposed in the Mirror pond basin of the Deschutes river for the past week. The Mirror pond will remain at its present level until work on the top portion of the dam is completed.

Racing incoming water, a crew under the supervision of W. J. Coleman of the pageant committee yesterday repaired the rock piers which for several years have provided anchorage for the pageant arches. An investigation revealed that the rock piers are apparently firm. A new foundation was erected on the piers. Earlier, plans were made for cement piers, but this proposal was abandoned.

Upstream from the Drake park footbridge, pageant booms are deeply mired in the ooze, but it is believed that incoming water will free the partly water-logged timber, permitting the booms to rise to the surface.

Ducks and geese were back on the stream today, apparently in considerable number. There is no way yet of determining whether there was a loss of ducks while the Mirror pond was drained. Some lovers of wildlife expressed a fear that the ducks would fly upstream and into the range of the guns of hunters.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941

Manipulation of Mill Pond Gates to Reduce River Flow

Power dam gates will be closed by the week-end or the first of next week and the level of the Mirror pond will slowly mount toward normal, power company officials announced today. However, before the gates are closed the direct flow of the river will be reduced to a minimum, to permit of final work in placing new facing on the lower part of the dam.

The flow of the river will be cut In this manner: Mill companies, cooperating with the power company, will release water from the upstream mill pond, then the gates will be closed, shutting off most of the water. However, not all the flow of the river can be cut off, and a stream, greatly reduced, will meander through the mudflats. However, the flow will be sufficiently low to permit of the completion of work on the lower facing on the dam.

The direct flow of the river has already been reduced through upstream dlveralon and storage at Crane prairie. Closing of the main pond gates, after the pond has been partly drained, wlll cut down the flow for about an hour, It Is estimated. On Tuesday, this method of reducing the flow was successfully used.

When the lower facing on the dam just north of the Newport avenue bridge is completed, it will be possible to impound water in the Mirror pond, and this will be done while work on the top part of the dam is being completed, it was indicated by power company officials. The Mirror pond will not reach its normal level until all repair work is completed.

It was a week ago tomorrow night that first water was released from the dam, and repair work was at once started.

There was some difference of opinion today as to whether ducks are flying upstream and into the range of hunters’ guns as a result of the draining of the Mirror pond. The general opinion is that ducks and geese are still ln the channel in considerable numbers, but are not asnoticeable as when the basin is filled.

City officers have announced that no attempts will be made to rid the basin of aquatic weeds, declaring that similar attempts in the past, when the water was out of the pond proved ineffective.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941

Rock Facing Built At Pageant Park

Taking advantage of low water in the Deschutes, result of draining of the Mirror pond, a city crew today was engaged in the preliminary improvement of Pageant park, facing the Deschutes from the west side of the river adjacent to Drake park footbridge approach. A rock wall has been constructed at the river edge, and low places in the new park were being filled. Willows on the river edge have been cut down.

Home owners whose lawns front on the Mirror pond from the west side are also taking advantage of the low water to repair and clean water fronts.

From city officers today came the complaint that some children are damaging the Drake park waterfront rock facing, by removing rocks. Some of these rocks are apparently being carried to the footbridge, to be dropped Into the river. Others are being pushed into tho mud.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941 

Draining of Pond May Result In Loss of Many Waterfowl

Fear was expressed here today by lovers of wildlife that the draining of the Mirror pond during the open season on waterfowl will result in a heavy loss of birds that normally make their home on the big man made lake now only marked by a swift flowing river and vast mudflats. Seeking more extensive water, ducks and geese are reported to be flying to the up-river country, where they become legal prey of hunters.

It is stressed by the wildlife lovers that the Deschutes river is closed one mile below and one mile above town and that persons shooting birds in the river refuge face arrest and fines.

Despite the fear that the draining of the mirror pond would result in a scattering of the birds, there appeared to be many waterfowl still on the river in town this morning, and in addition there was at least one migrant visitor–a wild swan. This swan battling the swift current in the mudflats below the Drake park bridge this morning. Nearby were a group of the Mirror pond swans.

If the waterfowl are flying out of Bend and Into the range of shotguns, there is little that can be done at present, it was admitted here today. However, hunters were being asked not to shoot at obviously tame mallards found upstream. “When in doubt,” it was suggested in a local barber shop yesterday evening, “the hunter should call ‘duck, duck, duck,’ then hold his fire if the ducks come paddling over in search of a hand out.”

The necessary draining of the Mirror pond, to make repair work on the power dam possible, has also removed the rapidly expanding schools of brown trout from the Mirror pond, and boys of Bend face poor fishing within the city limits next spring. On Sunday, salvage of trout stranded In pools was carried out by boys and grownups who used nets with considerable success.

Work on the power dam facings is being rushed by power company crews. When water was released from the dam over the week-end, it was announced that the basin would be empty tor a week or 10 days.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941

Scores of Curious Sightseers View Waterless Mirror Pond

Bend’s nearly waterless Mirror pond was far from scenic over the week-end, but the mud bottoms and the sight of the Deschutes twisting through the ooze flats attracted scores of sightseers. Many of these Bend residents had never before seen the bottom of the pond.

Ducks, geese and swans still remained in the stream yesterday, and there were  few excursions of the waterfowl to shore in search of food. In the first place, wading through the mud appeared difficult for the birds, and in the second place the waterfowl had plenty to eat on the mudflats.

Downstream near the Newport avenue bridge, boys Sunday afternoon discovered fish stranded in a drying basin, and immediately started salvage work. Several fine catches were reported, through the use of nets. The season on trout in now closed, but there appeared to be no law against the salvage of stranded trout.

The Mirror pond was drained to permit of work on the power dam, and today this work was well under way. it was announced that the pond would be dry a week or 10 days.

No information was available today as to whether an attempt would be made to construct permanent piers for the Mirror pond pageant arch, but the impression was that this project would not be undertaken.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941

Deschutes River Eats Way Into Mud as Pond Drained

The Deschutes river, eating its way through mudflats, was nearing its ancient channel on the bottom of the Mirror pond today, as drainage of the big basin, to permit of repair work on the power dam, neared completion. Work releasing water was started yesterday evening, and the pond was lowered about six feet. Today, the gates were further opened, permitting the impounded water to rush into the channel north of the dam.

The silt-filled basin attracted wide attention today, as the river flowed swiftly through the muddy bottom. Swans, geese and ducks did not appear to be greatly bothered by the disappearance of the man-made lake. However, riverside residents report considerable noise by the waterfowl through the night, as the birds apparently sensed that something was happening. This morning, the waterfowl were scouting for food along the drying basin, and were finding plenty, especially aquatic weeds.

To reduce the direct flow of the river as much as possible, water was diverted into the Central Oregon canal upstream, and the Crane prairie gates were closed. It is anticipated that less than 300 second feet of water will be flowing through the channel while the power dam gates are open.

The pond will remain dry for a week or 10 days, power company officials report.

Several projects may be undertaken in the Mirror pond basin while the water is out. Bend pageant committeemen will investigate the possibility of erecting permanent concrete piers for the pageant arch, to replace the temporary rock-filled pier. At Pageant park, the city plans to start work on a waterfront wall. Rock for this work has already been assembled.

Pageant committee anticipates some difficulty in getting the concrete pier constructed, inasmuch as contractors do not appear to be interested in the project. There is a question of finding a solid foundation for the pier.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1941

Tests to Be Started for Foundation for Pageant Arch

Foundation tests for the Mirror pond pageant arch pier proposed to be constructed when the pond is drained this fall were to be started today, in an attempt to determine whether rock underlies the mud banks on which the present temporary piers are erected. Rods are to be driven into the underlying mud in connection with the test work.

No date for the draining of the pond has yet been set, W. A. Lackaff, local manager of the Pacific Power & Light Co. plant, reported this morning. Mirror pond is to be drained to permit of repair work on the power plant dam. While the pond is empty, for a period of four or five days, the Bend Stampede and Waer Pageant association plans to construct the permanent piers for the arches used in connection with the river pageants.

Recently, the city appropriated $400 for the pier project and the pageant association a smaller amount. It is planned to construct concrete piers.

Temporary piers are leaning badly and may collapse at any time.

It is known that a considerable mud bank exists in the location where permanent piers are to be erected, but the depth of this mud is unknown. Originally, the Deschutes flowed through Bend in a rather narrow channel, flanked by willows in pioneer days. After the power dam was constructed, sediments slowly accumulated behind the dam, in the  still water.

Twice in recent years the Mirror pond has been drained, exposing vast mud flats, banks of which caved as the river, its current increased, cut down toward its old channel.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1941

Body of Boy is Found in River

The body of Larry Crowell, 2½ year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Crowell, was found at 2:35 o’clock this afternoon in the power dam forebay, lodged in weeds near the boom which diagonally crossed the pond in front of the power house. The discovery of the body ended a search that started Wednesday night, when the little boy’s tricycle was found in the deep water just back of Riverfront street.

Larry had evidently toppled into the river as he rode his tricycle to the water’s edge, down an alley near McKay street. The tricycle went over an improvised boat dock.

The hunt for the body centered in the lower mirror pond after several boys spotted an object they believed to be a large doll drifting down the mirror pond just below Drake park bridge.

To expedite the search, the mirror pond was drained last night, and early this morning the stream was again running through its old channel. This afternoon additional gates of the power dam were opened, to further lower the water. Shortly after this was done, the body was found.

The body apparently crossed the boom and came to rest in the weeds. When the mirror pond was drained, the boom swung out of position and was beyond the body.

Arrangements to turn practically all water out of the mirror pond, by draining and refilling the upper river mill pond, were being made when the body was found. Muddy water retarded the search this afternoon, as the river cut into mud banks in the mirror pond basin.

W. A. Lackaff, power company manager here, announced that work refilling the pond will be started at once. It was drained through the cooperation of the two local lumber mills, which assisted in generating power, and irrigation companies, which diverted full heads of water into their main ditches.

Larry is survived by his parents and a sister Darleen. Funeral arrangements have not been made.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1937

Keep The Weeds Out

For 10 or more summers preceding that of 1936 the appearance of the Mirror pond was increasingly unlovely. Water weeds, unknown in the first years of the pond created by the power dam, appeared in larger and larger quantity. As the weeds came to the surface they intercepted the bark discharged from the log ponds at the mills and the casual refuse brought down the current until, by the middle or the end of August, instead of a beautiful sheet of water in the heart of the city there was an ugly and disagreeable appearance of weeds and litter.

In the summer of 1936 the water was drawn out of the Mirror pond so that work at the new Newport avenue bridge might be expedited. For nearly two weeks the mud banks and the shoals of the river were exposed, crews worked at cutting down some of the weed beds and property owners along the shore went at the roots of the plants in front of their places. This work, plus–possibly–the effect of the sun on the exposed growth usually covered by water, was effective in eliminating the weeds last summer and none appeared on the surface after the pond was filled again. This summer, also, the river as been virtually free from the disfigurement hitherto objectionable.

While the memory of the weed conditions prior to 1936 is fresh in mind it is well to have a look at the river now and to see what it can be like with the weeds gone. Today it is a beautiful place and attractive alike to the visitor who sees it for the first time and to the resident to whom it is a part of his daily routine. Seeing the river as it now is and remembering how objectionable its appearance can be should lead to the resolve that hereafter it shall be kept clean and clear and, in fact as well as in name, be the Mirror pond.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1937

Additional Document: robert-sawyer-phone-directory-1936


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Mudbank Mystery in River Here is Solved

The mystery of the tilted mudbank in the mirror pond just off the bandstand shore, thought by some local residents to have been caused by an earthquake, was solved today, following an examination from a boat. The river current undermined the mudbank near the eastern shore of the river. The overhanging bank finally collapsed, leaving a portion of its edge sticking above the water.

A belief was first held that the “Queen of the Deschutes” had gone aground on the submerged mudflat, plowing up the mud. Navigators denied this reflection on their ability to maneuver the showboat up and down the main channel.

When the mudbank collapsed, it left a yawning fissure, and this led to the guess that some sort of local earthquake was responsible.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1936