PacifiCorp will lower Mirror Pond water levels in downtown Bend next week to facilitate another inspection of the hydroelectric dam, this time by a Bend Parks and Recreation contractor, utility officials and Friday.
"The inspection will be conducted by a contractor for the Bend Parks and Recreation District as part of deliberations around the potential acquisition of the dam from PacifiCorp by local entities to maintain the Mirror Pond impoundment after the facility is no longer used to generate electricity," a company statement said.
Here's the rest of PacifiCorp's statement - tune in tonight to NewsChannel 21 for more details from Kandra Kent:
The drawdown will begin the morning on Tuesday and will continue gradually until about midday on Friday.
The pond will be allowed to refill starting the afternoon of March 7, and that should be complete by Sunday morning, March 9. The inspection itself is scheduled to occur on Thursday and Friday.
Because of increased flows compared to last October, when the Mirror Pond was drawn down to facilitate a PacifiCorp inspection, water levels are not expected to drop as dramatically this time, although it will likely be noticeable, PacifiCorp said.
As was the case during the October drawdown and refilling of Mirror Pond, PacifiCorp will monitor water quality and conduct fish surveys consistent with state regulatory requirements.
PacifiCorp inspected the dam on Oct. 31 after a leak developed in one of the structure’s wooden panels.
The utility said the inspection concluded that while the facility was safe, it would not be cost-effective to rebuild the entire facility to generate power for current and future generations of customers across PacifiCorp’s six-state territory.
Since then, the company and representatives of the Bend Parks and Recreation and the city of Bend have been in discussions around potentially transferring the dam to a local entity so the community can realize its vision for the future of Mirror Pond.
PacifiCorp has announced plans to install sheet pile reinforcement in front of the leaking panel. The reinforcement work is planned to take place in April, or earlier if permitting is complete and a contractor is in place.
The company does not anticipate needing to lower Mirror Pond levels again for that procedure.
PacifiCorp is one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, serving almost 1.8 million customers in the West. PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. With an owned net generating capacity of almost 10,600 megawatts from coal, hydro, gas-fired combustion turbines and renewable wind and geothermal power, the company works to meet growing energy demand while protecting and enhancing the environment. For more information, visit pacificorp.com.