BEND, Ore. - Sometimes a small step is needed to put bigger change into motion, and the Bend Park and Recreation District is doing that with a project at Drake Park along Mirror Pond.
The park district said Monday it is moving ahead with designs for realigning the river-right banks of Mirror Pond from the Galveston Avenue Bridge to Pacific Park, reestablishing riparian habitat and repairing failing trail surfaces.
The project will also build new sections of the Deschutes River Trail and integrate that work into the existing features of Drake and Pacific parks.
As part of the design process, the first public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Community Room at the park district offices, 799 SW Columbia Street. Members of the community are invited to learn more about the project and ask questions.
For several years, the park district, the city of Bend and others have worked together to find a common community vision to address sediment accumulation, water quality and environmental issues in Mirror Pond. This process led the park board and city council to adopt a community vision in 2015.
In recent months, after Pacific Power changed course and decided to continue to own and operate the century-old hydroelectric dam that formed the pond, the park district has decided to move forward with implementing portions of the vision affecting Drake Park and the Deschutes River Trail from Drake Park to Pacific Park.
“This area along the river at Mirror Pond has significant historical and recreational significance to the community and the current project aligns with the community vision agreed upon by the Bend City Council and District Board,” said Executive Director Don Horton. “This project won’t resolve all issues related to Mirror Pond, but it is a great start.”
The bank repair and riparian habitat improvements project will not consider downtown redevelopment of parking lots, address sediment removal in the pond or the sources of those materials, or consider river-left locations, including Harmon or Brooks parks or private properties.
“This project requires a more detailed design effort to address existing safety, accessibility, environmental and maintenance issues,” Horton added.
Last September, the park district enlisted help from GreenWorks, PC for initial design development on a project to address:
· Methods for bank realignment and restoration;
· Identification of permitting requirements;
· Mitigation of safety issues;
· Detailed cost estimates; and
· Potential project phasing and schedules.
The March 8 public meeting and other outreach with groups and individuals in the community will provide input into the design process. Neighboring landowners, the environmental community and other stakeholders will be involved as more detailed design plans are developed.
The initial design phase is expected to take eight months. Following design, additional planning will be needed to determine a funding strategy and timeline for development.
For more information, visit the Mirror Pond project webpage at: http://www.bendparksandrec.org/current_projects/mirror-pond-project/.