Three for Pond committee

November 15, 2013
Three for Pond committee

Citizen members have backgrounds in hydraulics, ecology, restoration

By Scott Hammers

Three citizen members were appointed to the Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, bringing the committee that will seek a final plan for the future of the pond to a full nine members.

Five of the 11 applicants for the open positions attended the meeting, and the six original members selected Mike Olin, Ned Dempsey and Matt Shinderman.

In July, the Bend City Council and the Bend Park & Recreation District created the committee and appointed park district Chairman Don Horton, Bend Community Development Director Mel Oberst, Bend City Councilors Mark Capell and Victor Chudowsky, and park board members Scott Wallace and Don Schoenborn as its first members. On Wednesday, the original members minus Oberst voted to fill out their ranks.

All three new members claim experience in fields closely related to the committee goal of finding a long-term solution for silt accumulation in Mirror Pond, regardless of whether PacifiCorp continues operating the Newport Avenue Dam. Early in October the utility discovered a hole in the century-plus-old dam. Water levels in the pond dropped due to the leak, and PacifiCorp released additional water from the dam to allow inspectors to get a closer look at the damage.

Olin, a resident of Bend for 40 years, said he served as the first president of the Old Bend Neighborhood Association and spent six years helping to manage erosion at the Round Butte Dam near Madras. In his work at the Round Butte Dam, Olin dealt with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the licensing authority for most dams in the U.S.

Dempsey is a civil engineer who worked extensively with hydraulics and water resources and has studied sedimentation and other waterway issues with the U.S. Geological Survey. He recently sold his company, Century West Engineering Corp., which designs and operates monitoring stations tracking stream flow and water quality.

Shinderman is a member of the Mirror Pond Steering Committee, a group formed in late 2010 that managed the public outreach process surrounding Mirror Pond earlier this year. An instructor at OSU-Cascades, Shinderman teaches courses in environmental policy, sustainability and ecological restoration.

Also on Wednesday, Capell and Horton reported back to their fellow members the results of their recent meeting with PacifiCorp executives.

Capell said PacifiCorp officials acknowledged the absence of a long-term plan for the dam is slowing development of a plan for the pond. He said the utility should complete its assessment of the dam in a few weeks, and at that point PacifiCorp will be willing to share some of its findings with the committee.

“We can’t go spend $5 million or $8 million on Mirror Pond, and a month after we finish the project, they say, ‘We’re tearing the dam out,’” Capell said.

Horton said he’d like to see the committee develop a “white paper” that outlines its preferences for the future of Mirror Pond before the next meeting with PacifiCorp officials.

A separate assessment of the dam conducted by the Oregon Water Resources Department while water levels were lowered is not expected to be completed for two months, Horton said, but should inform the committee’s ultimate decision.

The ad hoc committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Dec. 2.

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