Bend Park Board attaches string to Mirror Pond dredging funds

December 18, 2018
Bend Park Board attaches string to Mirror Pond dredging funds

Says it wants a fish ladder to be considered

BEND, Ore. - Dredging Mirror Pond was again at the center of Tuesday night's Parks and Recreation District Board meeting in Bend.

The board agreed to chip in $300,000 to dredge Mirror Pond Tuesday night. The contribution matches $300,000 pledges from both the city of Bend and Pacific Power.

That still leaves about $5.1 million needed to pay for the project, and the money may come from a franchise fee increase that would be paid by Pacific Power customers.

However, the park board agreed to pay their share on the condition the city and Pacific Power consider adding a fish ladder to the utility's dam that forms Mirror Pond.

Julie Brown, spokeswoman for the park district, said the board believed this was the right thing to do in the end.

"It's predicated on the involvement of other parties, including the city of Bend and Mirror Pond Solutions," Brown said. "But we really thought it was important to, from the board members' standpoint, to reiterate and take a step forward on the community vision that was adopted in 2015."

Those involved say if everything goes well, dredging could start late next summer.

The board also discussed the expansion of the south end of the Deschutes River Trail.

Parks and Rec is still hoping to extend the river trail with a bridge on the south end -- a proposal that has sparked controversy in the past, all the way to the halls of the Oregon Capitol, due to a designated stretch of "wild and scenic" river.

So the proposal has generated mixed opinions, which is why the park board hired a consultant to look at the impacts such a project might have.

The consultant focused on potential impact to the riverbanks, wildlife and growth.

They also spoke with community members to get their thoughts on the project.

Through that process, the park district believes it was able to get a good understanding of the people who may not entirely agree with the project.

No decision was made Tuesday night on whether they will again attempt to move forward with the project.

The park board will now weigh how it wants to proceed and how they want to involve the community in the process.

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