Editorial: Mirror Pond decision depends on the dam

June 14, 2013
Editorial: Mirror Pond decision depends on the dam

Central Oregon abounds in pristine river scenes, where water follows natural paths edged by marshy areas and riparian shrubbery.

Indowntown Bend, though, for decades we’ve had something else: an urbanpond, a landscaped place, partly lined with retaining walls andwalkways.

We’d like to keep it.

It’s not that we don’t valuethe natural, but we like the urban landscape as well. Bend ought to beable to have both, and Mirror Pond is our special exception. Some whoshare our view have called it the city’s crown jewel.

We’ve arguedfor dredging, even if it’s expensive, even if it has to be done againin 20 years. We’ve argued that people would likely be willing to pay forit if given a straightforward choice. Without a vote, or at least ascientific survey, though, we can’t be sure that’s true.

Insteadthe Mirror Pond Steering Committee launched the current series ofmeetings and questionnaires and consultant’s renderings. Lots ofopinions have been expressed, but we still have no idea what themajority in Bend wants and would support.

Meanwhile, the processfocused attention on a critical factor: The dam that created the pond acentury ago isn’t a sure thing going forward.

Pacific Power ownsthe dam, and although there appear to be no plans to remove it in theshort-term, there’s no assurance of its long-term survival. It’sentirely possible it won’t make business sense for the company topreserve it at some point.

We can’t argue for spending millionsdredging the pond unless we know the dam will be there long enough tojustify it. That’s where the focus of attention should be, not onalternatives that turn Mirror Pond into one more natural river scene.

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