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Latest twist to Mirror Pond sparks varied reaction

By Kandra Kent
Published On: Nov 26 2013 11:09:17 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent reports on what Bend residents and homeowners are saying about Pacific Power's announcement to not repair the dam and two Bend business owners who want to buy the land under the pond.

BEND, Ore. -

It's another twist in the future of Bend's Mirror Pond.

"There's the potential for another land owner, who may or may not want additional conditions in order to work with, or touch that land," Mirror Pond project leader Jim Figurski said Tuesday.

The Old Mill developer, Bill Smith, and a land development company owner, Todd Taylor, announced they've secured an option to buy the land under Mirror Pond.

They told NewsChannel 21 on Monday that they'll give the land to any group willing to preserve the dam and keep Mirror Pond.

It comes at the same time Pacific Power officials say the dam's not worth repairing.

"The discussion now will focus more clearly or more narrowly on those transfer of ownership issues," Figurski said of the possibility the committee will decide to keep the dam.

However, the Mirror Pond Steering Committee was formed to investigate what the community wants to do.

Remember those surveys? The months of questionnaires and comments?

The results were nearly split: 47 percent said they wanted a free-flowing river, and 43 percent would keep the pond.

But could the potential new ownership -- and the potential owners who say they want the pond to stay -- change the stakes?

Figurski said no -- and businesses owners Smith and Taylor didn't return our calls Tuesday.

"There's still a land owner that has to be worked with, one way or another," Figurski said. "Whether the McKay family sells it to the Mirror Pond LLC, or whether they sell it to someone else."

But when a homeowner along Mirror Pond heard about the latest efforts to save Mirror Pond, it was like the perfect gift in time for the holidays.

"I'm thrilled," Laurie Anne McMillin said Tuesday. "Finally, someone's stepping up. It's part of the town -- it's why we live here."

Others say Bend is ready for a change.

"Restoring the river would help it environmentally, and also it would be great for the park," said Bend resident Lisa Bagwell. "It doesn't have to be a pond to enjoy the river."

And some say they're not quite sure any more what's best for the city.

"I'm kind of torn - I love Mirror Pond," said Bend resident Ashley Lougy.  "I've lived in Bend a long time, and it's always been a place I love to visit."

The Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee is expected to announce its preference concerning the future of the dam at its meeting on Monday.

Smith and Taylor will also be presenting their plans to the group.

That meeting is from 3 to 5 p.m. at Bend Park and Rec headquarters, and is open to the public.

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