Agreement reached for dredging Mirror Pond

September 2, 2016
Agreement reached for dredging Mirror Pond

Bend Park & Rec draws up new agreement with Mirror Pond land owner

By Aaron West

A new agreement between the Bend Park & Recreation District and the company that owns the land under Mirror Pond outlines what each party’s role will be in improving the pond, especially in regard to silt that’s built up there.

The partnership, which is part of the district’s Tuesday meeting agenda for approval, is titled “Next Steps for Mirror Pond.” Specifically, these steps — slated to take up to several years to complete — have Bend Park & Recreation taking charge of certain environmental improvements like fixing the pond’s deteriorating banks, rehabilitating pond habitat, and completing landscape work.

Meanwhile, Mirror Pond Solutions LLC, which owns the land beneath Mirror Pond, will start rounding up funding from private landowners, the city of Bend and Mirror Pond Dam owner Pacific Power so the actual sediment in the pond can be removed.

If Mirror Pond Solutions’ fundraising work is successful, then the company will get to work on removing the silt, according to the new memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is nonbinding.

“(Mirror Pond Solutions) will … accomplish all work necessary in removing the sediment,” the agreement states.

According to the agreement, Mirror Pond Solutions’ dredging work will see the removal of 40,000 to 60,000 cubic yards of sediment from the pond, even though the total amount will depend on how much money the company raises.

Mirror Pond Solutions is owned by Bill Smith, developer of the Old Mill District, and Todd Taylor, owner of the Taylor NW construction company. In late 2013, Mirror Pond Solutions purchased much of the land beneath the pond from a Portland family that had owned it since before Pacific Power’s dam was constructed.

As for the park district’s role, the agreement states the district will be responsible for funding the bank realignment and other work, which is budgeted to cost up to $150,000.

A request for proposals is being advertised to complete a design plan that will lay out how to rehabilitate the deteriorating banks. According to the park district, the state of the pond’s banks, as well as certain segments of the Deschutes River Trail, are creating safety, environmental and maintenance issues that should be addressed with more money than has previously been spent.

“Over the years, staff has been making repairs to address these issues, but these temporary repair measures are no longer sufficient. …,” a summary of the agreement states.

Once all the work is completed, Mirror Pond Solutions will donate the land it owns underneath the pond to the park district, the agreement states.

The new agreement is necessary because of Pacific Power’s decision to keep ownership of the Mirror Pond Dam, which is the dam that creates Mirror Pond. Earlier this summer, Pacific Power had been in talks with Mirror Pond Solutions to possibly transfer ownership of the dam to the private company, but in early June the utility company decided against the deal.

An earlier agreement between Bend Park & Recreation District and Mirror Pond Solutions that had been approved at the district’s June 6 meeting was created under the thinking that Pacific Power might not retain ownership of the dam.

The old agreement stated that Mirror Pond Solutions would seek to purchase the aging dam and dedicate 25 percent of net operating income from power generation to a fund for future maintenance of the pond. Mirror Pond Solutions would also seek to purchase the powerhouse and adjoining land that can be developed, and construct a fish ladder at the dam.

“Because of this decision, a new MOU became necessary,” the district wrote in a summary of the new agreement.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829,

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