January 9, 2012 - Bend Bulletin - Time for action on Mirror Pond

Jan 10, 2012

January 9, 2012 - Bend Bulletin - Time for action on Mirror Pond

Time for action on Mirror Pond

Published: January 09. 2012 4:00AM PST

For years now, the silt has continued to pile up in Bend’s Mirror Pond while officials have struggled to find a solution.

Committees are formed, meetings held, staff briefly hired.

But the silt continues to pile up amid reports that there just isn’t enough money to deal with it.

Two Bulletin readers wrote last week urging the Bend Park & Recreation District to drop its new projects and concentrate on the pond. They reflect the frustration many feel when they read about wonderful plans while the prime jewel of the city deteriorates.

The park district doesn’t have sole responsibility for Mirror Pond, but it is the agency with money to do optional things. A bridge at the First Street Rapids or the purchase of the old Mt. Bachelor Park and Ride property are great, but hardly essential. So why not just focus on Mirror Pond?

One answer, according to the park district’s Executive Director Don Horton, is that the district is constrained by state law to spend its money only on recreation. Although rescuing Mirror Pond may contribute to recreation, he said, many other issues are involved.

The district does plan to include questions about Mirror Pond in an upcoming survey, asking respondents if they think a special district should be formed for Mirror Pond or if they prefer a bond issue for a one-time fix.

Results of the survey will help guide the park district in deciding among its many high-priced possible projects, Horton said.

Meanwhile, City of Bend Community Development Department Director Mel Oberst has agreed to take on a coordinating role on the Mirror Pond issue, working with the park district and other interested parties, as well as researching requirements of state and federal agencies. Oberst said the park district’s survey results will help guide the next steps for the group.

We’re in favor of preserving Mirror Pond, and we hope the group’s work will lead swiftly to a public vote if that’s what’s needed. A bond issue for studying alternatives would be a hard sell, but voters are likely to support one that offers a clear path to preserve the pond.

Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2011

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