By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Maintenance on the dam that forms Mirror Pond is complete and the pond is again full, just in time for holiday visitors to enjoy Drake Park in downtown Bend.
The Vision for Mirror Pond adopted in 2015 anticipated the Newport Dam would be replaced with a cascading waterfall feature that fish could pass through naturally.
Now, with Pacific Power keeping the dam, the the vision needs to be modified to reflect a different kind of fish passage and future for mirror pond.
“So the idea is we go through a public process to determine what that new vision will be. That public process will be led by the COIC,” said Bend Parks and Recreation Executive Director Don Horton. “They will be a 3rd party facilitator that will host the meetings that will include BPRD, City of Bend, ODFW and an engineer who is skilled at designing fish passage. Also to take testimony from the public, what the public would like to see.”
A concept plan and cost estimates to establish fish passage around the existing dam is expected to emerge from the meetings. They will be forwarded to the Bend City Council and Bend Parks District board for approval as a modification to the existing Mirror Pond Vision.
If all goes according to plan, Mirror Pond could then be dredged to remove accumulations of silt that is clogging the pond.
The City of Bend intends to filter storm water that drains into the river; the Bend Park and Recreation District plans to rehabilitate the riverbanks in Drake Park and extend the Deschutes River Trail under the Newport Avenue Bridge.
“There’s a walk way on park district property in that location which will also be replaced with the boardwalk that will extend through the private property and go underneath Newport Avenue then go back up to grade, go across the Pacific Corp parking lot around their substation and through Pacific Park,” Horton said. “So the extent of what we are doing will extend from Portland Avenue all the way to the plaza that overlooks Drake Park.”
Horton says riverbank restoration in Drake Park will resemble habitat improvements made in other parks along the river.
The river bank restoration and trail extension projects in Drake Park could get underway in the fall of 2020 and take about a year to complete.