New Mirror Pond attraction could be Bend's gold mine

February 8, 2013
New Mirror Pond attraction could be Bend's gold mine

By Bob Vancil

The city of Bend looks at the silting of Mirror Pond as a major problem. Bend needs to turn this around and discuss how it might be a gold mine. At some time in the near future, you will have to dredge the pond, as it is too valuable to not dredge or eliminate it. Here might be one solution:

Begin looking for an old gold dredge. The town of Mt. Vernon used to have one. Track it down or maybe purchase the one in Sumpter.

Maybe there are others out there, waiting to be sold and moved. Right now, with the price of gold where it is, these may be difficult to purchase at a cheap price. But find one! Move it and set it up on Mirror Pond.

Now you will need to be creative. Create at least two condos on the upper floor of the dredge. These condos could have an old-time flair and be available for rental. Make them quite high-end affairs, as they will be in a super prime location as they will slowly move as you dredge the material in the pond. On the roof you could put a dining area, perhaps not reaching the height of the Space Needle in Seattle or other unique locations, but no one else would have the Mirror Pond view that would look back into the city or the park. I realize this might be only a summer and early fall endeavor. Now think of the value of the home sites along the pond.

Maybe if this worked out you would add a barge, to be towed, with a number of condos sitting on the barge. This might be so successful that property taxes might start falling.

The gold dredge will not be a fast-moving enterprise, as it needs to complete Mirror Pond dredging every twenty years or so. So it would be a long-term project that would just continue and continue. It might just create enough activity that the geese are disrupted and take their business elsewhere.

Now the dredge material has to be dealt with, so again, get a little creative. Salt the pond with small gold nuggets, maybe purchased from Sumpter or some other gold area, or really go big and maybe Baker City might sell some of their gold nuggets or even rent them out. Put them on display to show what the condo renters might find. When you stay in the condo, you have to agree to take all metals that become part of the tailings, including the salted gold or any other strange metals. As the tailings come out of the dredge, separate the metal from the silt. Now dealing with the silt needs to be a moneymaker also. Here I am kind of shaky on ideas, maybe places with considerable wind erosion might purchase this silt, or make it part of the deal with Sumpter and it could go back to replace the damage of bygone years when they dredged for gold; or, we have many dry canyons around, fill one up and sell the filled area as land for development. Of course, you would need an environmental study to make sure no endangered species of rattlesnakes or scorpions would be involved.

I could see this now, all over social media of all kinds. Think of the additional tourists who might come to view this lasting impression of the frontier. You could have stagecoach rides to go along with the beer/bike rides to see the community. With deeper water, you might have water shows or even parades along Mirror Pond. Imagine Christmas lights reflected on the pond. What a sight!

— Bob Vancil lives in Redmond.

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