Future of Bend's Mirror Pond dredged up yet again

Bend Parks and Rec sets up Website for public input

POSTED: 1:36 PM PST January 30, 2013    UPDATED: 7:35 PM PST January 22, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Whether you're biking by, jogging along it or just taking in the wildlife it attracts, Bend's Mirror Pond makes an impression.

"I think it's gorgeous -- we're very lucky to have it," said Bend resident Tanya Smith said Tuesday.

"I've lived here 20 years, and I love Mirror Pond," said Bend resident Ken Chard, echoing the sentiments of many.

More than a century ago, a dam transformed the Deschutes River at Drake Park into what you see now.

"Mirror Pond is talked about as an icon here in Bend, and when you talk about something with iconic stature, I would say it's a fairly big deal," said Jim Figurski, a landscape architect for the Bend Parks and Rec District.

"My expertise has been with wetlands and river environments," said Figurski.

The big deal he's talking about is making any changes to Mirror Pond in the future, a discussion that's gone on for years as silt built up in the pond.
 
"The constraints are: dollars, time, how much energy do you want to put into getting to a final solution?" said Figurski.

To get an idea of what the community wants, Bend Parks and Rec set up a website. www.mirrorpondbend.com -- your thoughts can be heard through your clicks and keystrokes.

"What we're trying to do with this public outreach and input is find out, what picture (of Mirror Pond) is in your mind?" Figurski said.

To get that vision, a questionnaire asks things like, could Mirror Pond have better access points? And do you like the wildlife?

"We don't do things in absence of talking to our clients, and in the case of Mirror Pond, the community is the client," Figurski said.

The last time Mirror Pond was dredged was 1984, and it cost more than $300,000.

Bend Parks and Rec wants to get a clearer view of whether you're willing to pay to do it again to get rid of the silt.

There's no firm estimate on how much it would cost to dredge the pond now. However, as one resident points out, there is another option.

"It could just as easily be a river if they want to knock down the dam down there," said Chard.

There are endless options to improving the area, but Figurski says there's one thing for sure.

"There's no doubt, if something is done, it will be expensive," Figurski said.

If you want to have your thoughts heard, fill out the questionnaire at www.mirrorpondbend.com. You can also attend the two upcoming public input meetings at the Bend Parks and Recreation District offices in the Old Mill District. The meetings will be held Wednesday, Feb. 6 and Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m.