Pond beset with weeds — again

Frank Loggan thought he’d seen his last underwater weed when Mirror Pond was dredged in 1984.

He was wrong.

In just three summers, Loggan, 84, again has an aquatic garden swaying just beyond his backyard.

“I think you’ll find a lot of weeds upriver wash down and then you have another growth of weeds (in Mirror Pond),” said Loggan, who has lived on the banks of the downtown Bend pond since 1949.

Property owners, the city and the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District shelled out about $280.000 to take roughly 50,000 yards of silt out of the pond in 1984.

Bend Public Works Director Tom Gellner said the dredging made Mirror Pond 4 to 7 feet deep throughout. Before that, the pond was shallow outside the main channel.

“I remember seeing ducks and geese 50 yards off shore standing in 2 or 3 inches of water,” Gellner said.

Dredging uprooted the abundant weeds, but it didn’t take long for them to come back. Last year the first of them made an appearance. This year, they’re sprouting in thickets.

Gellner said the weed resurgence may force the city to find ways to kill the weeds. One possible solution, be said, would be to draining most of the pond during a cold spell this winter and let the cold kill the weeds.

Two areas are most heavily infested. One is near the footbridge connecting Drake and Harmon parks. The other is at Brooks Park southwest of Newport Avenue.

Local officials are at a loss to explain the resurgence of weeds, which proliferate in slow-moving water outside the main river channel.

But one thing they say they’re sure of: Mirror Pond is not re-silting.

Every year, the city measures the depth of Mirror Pond at five points in the river between Tumalo Street and Coyner Point.

Charts of these measurements show some silting along the main river channel at the south end of Minor Pond. However, the silting is minimal, Gellner said.

Depending on how well local officials manage erosion on the upper river, Mirror Pond may not need dredging again for another 50 years. Gellner said.

“I think I’ll make’it to retirement (before more dredging),” he said.

Clay Shepard’s home sits across from Brooks Park, where weeds have taken a foothold. He too was surprised to see the weeds come back so quickly, but be doesn’t think they’re a problem yet.

“My personal feeling is (weeds) are not as bad as they were before dredging,” Shepard said. “There was quite a bit of weed before dredging.”

Vegetation blooms in Lake Tahoe and other areas have been attributed to pollution, but again, that doesn’t seem to be a problem in Mirror Pond. according to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“Lab samples are taken (from Mirror Pond) on a regular basis and they don’t show anything out of the ordinary,” said John Hector, Bend regional manager for the DEQ.

Gellner, the public works director, said the city probably will explore ways to combat the weeds as the problem continues to grow.

“We’ll get underwater weeds in lakes 30 feet deep,” Gellner said. “The depth is only 5 or 6 feet in (most of) Mirror Pond.”

Source: The Bulletin ©1987

Mirror Pond dredging project taking shape

Although digging out Mirror Pond may mean digging deeply into their pocketbooks, owners of homes along the pond want to pay their fair share of the cost, several of them said Wednesday.

Fifteen riverfront residents, most of whom live on Drake Road along the north bank, expressed support in principal for a proposed local improvement district to finance dredging of the pond.

They gathered at the home of lawyer Ray Babb, 407 NW Drake Road, to view a map of the proposed LID boundary and to learn how deep into their pocketbooks they may have to dig.

The mile-long pond, which runs from the Galveston Avenue bridge to the Pacific Power & Light Co. dam, needs to be scooped out to a minimum depth of about five feet, a study published last summer said.

Weeds and silt are choking the river channel. If left unchecked, the buildup could turn the pond into a mud flat.

The dredging project is expected to cost $300,000 at the most.

The LID boundary embraces 1.8 million square feet of private, public and semi-public property. Under the financing plan, private land owners would pay 43.5 percent of the cost, leaving the remaining portion to the city of Bend (7.5 percent), the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District (42 percent), the Elks Lodge (1.3 percent) and Pacific Power (5.6 percent).

The private portion would be financed through bonds sold by the city and paid off by property owners.

The proposal was put together by former Mayor Dick Carlson, whose home at 1000 NW Harmon Boulevard is on a bank of the pond, and by city officials.

It sets up two payment rates. Homeowners with property touching the river would pay 17 cents for each square foot of their lots, while LID residents with land separated from the pond by a road would pay 14 cents.

A homeowner with a 6,000 square-foot lot on the river would contribute $1,020 to the project. The same size property not directly on the river would be assessed $840.

Four-fifths of the property in the suggested district lies at the river’s edge.

Dick Gervais, 437 NW Drake, while supporting the financing plan at Wednesday’s meeting, asked whether the costs might be better distributed. He said the residents would actually pay for the project three times; directly through assessment of their property as part of the LID and indirectly through taxes paid to the city and the park district. Gervais suggested the rate paid by private land owners should be lowered to compensate for the indirect payments to both agencies.

Pat Metke, 647 NW Drake, said people outside the LID might be persuaded to donate money to help get the work done.

“There’s probably enough people outside who have enough interest in this project to participate,” he said.

The group appointed Babb, Gervais and Frank Loggan to work with owners on Harmon and Riverside boulevards on the proposal. Meetings are planned soon for both of those neighborhoods.

The excavation is expected to begin next spring. A floating dredge would vacuum about 60,000 cubic feet of silt from the river bottom. A place to put the silt, which is enough to form a one-yard-square dirt column 40 miles high, has not been decided yet. However, Brooks Resources Corp. indicated an interest last fall in having it pumped upstream as the Shevlin Center to be used as fill dirt. It is unknown if the real estate development company is still interested in the silt.

Another proposal has been to pipe it downstream to a piece of property owned by Clyde Purcell.

City engineer Tom Gellner said, however, that the second option is more expensive.

Concern also has been expressed about the effect of the dredging project on waterfowl on the pond. The study, done by Clark and Joyce Inc., a Bend engineering firm, said the impact should be minimal. It said the ducks and geese, which use grass-covered islands on the pond as a habitat, would probably move upstream until the three-month project is finished.

Source: The Bulletin ©1982

Mirror Pond now a mud flat as PP&L lowers water level

The Mirror Pond basin, through which the Deschutes River raced as a trout-filled stream when Bend was a hamlet early in the century, was an ugly mud flat today.

Drainage of the big, lawn fringed basin was started last night, and by daylight this morning the river was meandering around mud banks as waterfowl fed in the main stream.

City officials were greatly pleased with the night selected by Pacific Power & Light Co. officials to drain the pond, to permit repairs to the impounding structures and to carry out other work: The mercury dipped to 16 degrees last night.

The sudden plunge of the temperature wilted aquatic weeds in the basin, apparently making unnecessary plans of the city to engage in an extensive weed-eradication project. This morning, weeds on mud flats were wilted over many acres.

However, the city will carry out other work while the pond level is down to stream channel. Part of this will include repair of rock walls in areas where cement did not hold. It is expected that there will also be an attempt to clean some unsightly debris from the basin.

Youngsters, en route to school, were on the job early this morning to make their survey of the muddy area, and found hundreds of crawdads dead in waterless areas, some of them on top of thin crusts of ice.

Work planned by PP&L includes the construction of a scenic water spout in the power pond area. It will be lighted. Also, a scenic wooden fence will be constructed on top of the spillway.

Level of the Mirror Pond will remain low for two weeks.

Source: The Bulletin ©1968

On page 8 in Sports: Kiki Cutter, Julie Meissner get thirds in respective ski races

Ice breaks, miring boy in pond mud

A boy who mired in the mud of the drained Mirror Pond narrowly escaped possible suffocation this morning about 10 o’clock.

The Youngster, identified by companions as Gifford Akins, about 8, had walked out on an Icy fringe from the east bank of the river, upstream from the Drake Park footbridge. Suddenly the ice broke and the boy started sinking in the soft mud.

Boys nearby noticed the plight of the youngster. Two of them, Doug Brown and Don Williams, quickly “borrowed” a coat from another youngster, tossed It toward the stranded boy while holding to one arm of the garment, then started a slow rescue.

Gradually, the boy was pulled from the mud and taken ashore.

When first sighted by companions, Gifford was sinking fast in the mud, line of which was between his waist and his arm pits.

Officers have cautioned all youngsters to stay away from the treacherous mud banks, which in some places are like quicksands.

The river was drained Thursday afternoon, to permit the frost kill of aquatic weeds, and survey of the mud banks.

Source: The Bulletin ©1964

Pond Down, Revealing Rocks, Mud, Debris

Acres or mud flats, ooze-covered rocks and much debris came into view this morning as the Mirror Pond was lowered.

Past the mud banks, the Deschutes, brown and swift, raced in a strong current through the basin normally occupied by the Mirror Pond, one of the state’s beauty spots.

But there was only ugliness in the basin today, and the smell like that of a drying tide flat.

Ducks, geese, swans and coots were enjoying life, however. The lowering of the pond not only brought to view aquatic weeds, but hundreds of big crawfish. Ducks were feeding voraciously on the crawdads, which were attempting to move over the mud to reach the swift water.

The Mirror Pond has been lowered to make it possible for the Pacific Power and Light Co. to do some long delayed work on the grates at the power dam.

Cooperating with the power company, irrigation districts have diverted water into canals south of town, to reduce the flow past Bend. Also, water is being stored at Wickiup and Crane Prairie.

The power company expects to complete the repair work by Wednesday.

City crews are also busy while the Mirror Pond is missing, with Percy Drosi, city water and street superintendent, compiling an imposing list of things that must be done while the water is low.

Lowering of the pond started last night, and by daylight this morning mud flats were coming into view. Some of these are imposing, with on in front of the Drake Park bandstand covering more than an acre. This bank is about six feet deep. There are other huge flats upstream, just below the Tumalo Bridge, and downstream in front of Brooks Park.

Mud banks were slumping into the river this morning, as the stream undercut the flats.

Old timers said the river has changed its course in a number of places since the pond was last lowered.

Fish were jumping in the muddy stream this morning, and some fear was held they would suffocate because of the amount of silt in the water.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1957

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 

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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Mirror Pond is Filled and Placid

Bend’s mirror pond is again full and placid today, with ducks, swans and geese swimming back and forth across the basin that for 12 days was covered by unsightly mud flats. The power dam flood gates were closed yesterday afternoon and the huge pond rapidly filled.

The pond was drained nearly two weeks ago to permit contractors to sink footings for the Newport avenue bridge piers. While the water was low, the contractors used three shifts daily on the bridge.

Mired in the mud while water was out of the pond, the “Queen of the Deschutes”, Fourth of July float, floated again as the pond attained its normal level.

It is believed the draining of the pond will solve the aquatic weed problem for the current year, although it is believed that hot weather would have resulted in a far greater mortality.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1936

Mirror Pond Will Be Filled Again Tonight

Emptied 12 days ago to permit contractors to pour concrete for Newport bridge piers, the mirror pond tomorrow morning will again be flush with its banks, if plans announced today materialize. Flood gates of the power dam were to be closed this afternoon and the mirror pond basin will slowly fill through the night.

Today, a city crew rushed to complete the destruction of a mud island out in the mirror pond that has been growing so rapidly in recent years that floats used in the Fourth of July pageant have frequently gone aground.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1936