Mirror Pond: Bend’s Lake on the Deschutes

Mirror Pond is an impoundment of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon forming a small urban lake. It is located between Pacific Power’s Bend Hydro dam and the Bend Whitewater Park. The pond is flanked by Drake, Harmon, Pageant, Brooks, Columbia, Miller’s Landing, and McKay parks, as well as a number of private homes.

Since the early 1900s, Mirror Pond has been a feature many identify with the spirit of Bend. Events that Bendites held close to their hearts have been entwined with Mirror Pond since its formation in 1910. Floating and fishing have always been popular on the pond. The Bend River Pageant and Stampede, an event that included decorating the pond with colored lights, a parade of river floats, and the Mirror Pond Arch, was held 25 times from 1933 to 1965. To many, the pageant serves as the idyllic vision of early Bend life.

Mirror Pond originally served as the hub for the Pole Pedal Paddle and the Kids’ Mini-PPP. These and other events associated with Mirror Pond have relocated or have been canceled. The Great Drake Park Duck Race is the only remaining major community event to take place on Mirror Pond. The Pole Pedal Paddle and the Kid’s Mini-PPP have moved to the mill pond at the Old Mill District.

The picaresque Mirror Pond has graced Bend postcards and marketing material for over 100 years, starting with its first mention as “the broad pond” in the Bend Bulletin in 1911. The pond’s fame grew as Mirror Pond Pale Ale became Deschutes Brewery’s best selling beer.

Contrary to common thought, problems with sedimentation and weed growth have been associated with Mirror Pond since the 1920s. Now, the fate of the broad, slow-moving pond is in question and the removal of the dam to restore the river to its natural state is being weighed against the iconic status of Mirror Pond.