Watching The Deschutes rise from its watery grave below Galveston Bridge permits one to consider its future not just in the head, but with the heart. We've heard scientific and financial perspectives on the matter: both favor river restoration over dredging. Some also seem to feel that a river would look better than a pond, though there's no clear consensus about that. To the scientific, financial, and aesthetic arguments, I would like to weigh in from a cultural perspective.
Bend's large retirement community notwithstanding, the city's image is much more Brad Pitt (A River Runs Through It) than Henry Fonda (On Golden Pond). Rivers flow. Ponds stagnate. Rivers course. Ponds atrophy. Ponds, at most, muster ripples, whereas rivers create rapids. (A Major League Soccer franchise identifies itself as The Colorado Rapids, but no sporting entity, to my knowledge, has considered branding itself The Ripples.) When faced with a difficult decision, we do not welcome issues that muddy the water, whereas a free-flowing river can wash away doubt.
Ponds are good for skating, but not Mirror Pond because it is not really a pond and so does not freeze properly. We could all use a reflecting pool at times, but while rivers in fact have pools (pool-riffle-run), there is no such thing as a reflecting pond. (See for yourself: Google "reflecting pond" and Wiki brings up "reflecting pool.") The distinction between pools and ponds brings to mind a line from Caddyshack:"We have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for you." Only when Bendites are prepared to mumble out of the sides of our mouths and shamble furtively through Drake Park pursuing Canada Geese with plastic explosives will the "pond be good enough for us." At that point, we may be little better than pond scum.
There are duck ponds and beaver ponds, but ducks and beavers can't amicably coexist in Oregon. Peace, not to mention the local economy, is better served with habitat for trout and tubers.
Finally, Googling "poem about a pond" retrieves one result at poemhunter.com, whereas "poem about a river" brings up 367 results. Consider Robert Frost's "A Brook in the City," which tells of a stream routed into an underground sewer and forgotten. (From the recent smell of it, Mirror Pond is more like a sewer buried in a stream than a stream buried in a sewer.) Between Frost's and the other 367, I'd like to add one more poem about a river. (Sorry, pond, but you simply don't inspire me.)
Go With the Flow
The Deschutes bisects Bend up and down:
You can sit to its east or its west,
And opine on the talk of the town
Concerning the course that is best:
Some insist it requires a dredge;
Others counter it merits a drain—
As issues go, this one's a wedge,
But the facts of the matter remain:
The industrial dam has grown tired.
It is labored, and leaky, and broken,
Its utility long since expired,
And to top it off, Gaia has spoken:
Nature's sculptor has chiseled a block,
And a river's emerged from the pond
Like the David emerged from the rock.
Time to go with the flow, and move on.
Settlers set the Deschutes in a vise,
And thus proved themselves powerful clever.
Might we wend a way toward being wise?
Waters need not divide us forever.
—Bard of Bend
Sirs—The local city fathers could substantially enrich the city coffers by stationing a few gendarmes with radar guns at strategic spots on Pilot Butte for a while. So many fools—including cyclists—go cruising up and down the road at 50 or better it is a miracle one or more of them hasn't run off the road and taken a few hikers along for the ride. It is really too bad the Butte road can't be permanently closed to traffic all year long, as it is in the winter. Why not give locals one place they can go in town to enjoy the beautiful scenery in peace and quiet, without having to contend with speeding traffic, blaring car radios, obnoxious exhaust fumes etc., not to mention marijuana smoke wafting out of vehicles and all across the summit on frequent occasions.
The road definitely needs to be watched on a more regular basis than it currently is, because having observed on a regular (daily) basis the kind of traffic frequenting the Butte, you can be sure that if the present trend continues, there will soon be a serious accident there.
—Save the Butte
Bend is a destination. Whether tourists come for the mountain biking, beer, or dry sunny climate, we live in a place people want to visit. What makes it a place folks want to return to, tell their friends about, or even consider relocation, is the quality of life. Our arts and cultural opportunities are a vital component in Bend's attraction, and voters have an opportunity to support these essential programs on the November 5 ballot by voting yes on Measure 9-94.
This measure would create a small increase in the tax tourists pay to stay in Bend hotels. It's a small amount, but over a 10-year period, it will generate approximately $2.4 million for Bend's police and fire departments, $3.8 million for tourism promotion, and $1.8 million for the arts.
As editor of Cascade A&E Magazine and a member of the Arts & Culture Alliance, a group of 30 plus organizations in Central Oregon, I consistently work with small and large cultural organizations that have seen many funding options dwindle.
The opportunity to provide a resource to enhance the awareness of these programs to new visitors would not only be a proactive step in demonstrating Bend's support of these important resources, but residents and visitors alike would benefit from a richer cultural landscape.
This November, I urge anyone who values a vibrant economy, arts and culture, and public safety to vote yes on Measure 9-94.
While you and all the other liberal media focus on the few individuals who commit these horrible crimes there are thousands of lives saved by armed citizens every day. Someday you may be glad that there is someone with a firearm to save your ass. I have been a gun owner for over 50 years and you are not getting mine.
Letter of the Week!
Mark Winger, thank you for the "anonomous" letter. May we suggest a dictionary to go along with your Letter of the Week $5 certificate to Crow's Feet Commons?