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River pond floaters react to Mirror Pond option

By Kandra Kent
Published On: Jul 08 2013 10:00:47 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent spoke with park officials and people enjoying Drake Park about what removing the Pacific Power dam will mean for Mirror Pond recreation.

BEND, Ore. -

We've talked money and we've talked looks, in Sunday's story, but how could changes to Mirror Pond affect the river's most popular use?

"As far as floating down the river, I don't think faster is what we're looking for," said one woman floating the river near Drake Park on Sunday.

"Speeding up the channel would be a little more fun," said another man.

Everyone has their own personal floating preferences.

And as Mirror Pond continues to fill up with silt, backlogged by the Pacific Power hydro dam, Bend Parks and Rec is looking for a solution: leave the pond as it is, dredge the silt, do a partial dredge, or pull the dam and let the river flow freely and faster.

"The consultants who are working on this have characterized it as going from a 'slow walk' to a 'walk,' so it will be a little faster, we can't tell you exactly how fast," Project Manager Jim Figurski said.

A bigger thrill for some -- but Mirror Pond is also a popular place for parents to take small children.

"Just because the current is so calm right now, there's not so much of a worry right now," said a father with his four-year-old daughter.

He said lots of parents take small children to Drake Park to play and learn to swim.

"If the dam gets removed I don't think they're going to come out here too much," he said.

Furgurski said the channel also would be more narrow, with the increased velocity attracting more fish.

Bend resident Logan Whitaker said his family enjoys floating the river, but they avoid fishing at Mirror Pond.

"If you're fly-fishing, slow water isn't the best," Whitaker said. "Faster water, that's the kind of thing the trout like, and it would make the river a lot more enjoyable to be around."

Figurski said there are several more steps before a final decision is made on what to do with the pond. Once an option is selected, recreational design elements can be built in.

"Right now, it's a short beach that's maybe 50, 60 feet wide," Figurski said of Drake Park. "It could be bigger than that. We certainly don't want to take away recreational activities in Drake Park."

Project officials want to know what project you like best. You can find a survey online at www.mirrorpondbend.com. The questionnaire will close on Friday.

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