BEND, Ore. - A steering committee trying to figure out what's best for Mirror Pond in Bend want more help from the community.
They say in the second phase of the project, those attending meetings and giving feedback has fallen back dramatically. They say on average, they're seeing 20 to 30 people show up to learn and give their opinion on what's best for that section of the river.
Tuesday night the committee held another open house. Among the options are to get rid of a nearly 100-year-old dam in Bend. Others include dredging the river to remove a buildup of silt, the issue that led to the current review.
The dam, which is owned by Pacific Power, produces enough electricity to power about 200 to 300 homes.
The company told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday morning they don't anticipate any capitol improvements being made on the structure, only those to keep it safe and operational.
The company added that it's looking to see what the community wants to see done with it when it's no longer needed for a hydropower project.
"They are at the table, they are part of the discussion, we're having ongoing discussions with them," project Manager Jim Figurski said.
"For us, there is no decision other than removing the dam," meeting attendee Devin Hess said. "It's the clear choice."
Hess argues Bend needs to look past the "iconography" of Mirror Pond and think about the future.
"If we want to be able live sustainably in place for thousands of years, then our focus needs to be on the ecology," Hess said.
But Doug Wermer, who has taught stream processes at Northern Arizona University, says the dam needs to stay, because it would have a dramatic effect upstream.
"It would incise a channel through that section of the river and drastically change it," Wermer said. "We're going to loose recreational opportunities and wildlife on that stretch of the river."
For more information on the Mirror Pond Project, including a questionnaire and schedule of remaining meetings, CLICK HERE