One topic I neglected to address in my recent Letter to the Editor about removing the Mirror Pond dam (The Source Weekly, March 27) is water quality. My M.S. thesis in Environmental Health was an aerial water quality study, but it doesn't take a Master's Degree to see algae growing in the Deschutes River in Bend. The free-flowing Boise River runs clear in Boise with little or no algal growth, as does the Truckee River in Reno. More nitrates may leach into the Deschutes River upstream of Bend than they do into those rivers upstream of their cities, but nonetheless speeding up the flow of water through Bend should be all it would take to eliminate most algal growth in Bend's section of the Deschutes River. Algae and the environment conducive to its growth would be washed away along with acre-feet of muddy silt and pumice that have been deposited over the decades by the impoundment of the water. Nature will gradually clarify the water if we merely allow the river to run its course unimpeded.
From a water quality perspective, there is no comparison between a fast-moving river and an impounded pond or reservoir. From aesthetic, environmental, and ecological perspectives, there is no comparison between a clear, free-running river with its surrounding natural riparian area and a muddy, algae-infested pond with its surrounding mowed, fertilized, and herbicided lawn. And from an economic perspective, there is no comparison in the expense of removing a dam once and maintaining an ancient and decrepit dam, pond, and park lawn permanently. And as a side benefit, there would be no more goose problem because no pond will mean no great numbers of geese!
Mirror Pond has always seemed an anachronism, resembling older parks in the Midwestern flatlands more than newer parks in the mountainous West. Cities like Boise and Reno have rebuilt their downtowns around beautifully restored riparian areas which enclose arteries of clear water rushing through the centers of these larger-than-Bend cities. Hideously ugly dams with century-old power generating machinery do not mar the hearts of those cities. So to the Bend City Council and my fellow Benders, I strongly recommend that we remove this canker from the heart of our city and work with nature to heal this historic wound. The fish and wildlife, ourselves as taxpayers, our children and grandchildren, and the outdoor enthusiasts who visit and live in Central Oregon will thank us for it!
Since you brought up the Mirror Pond dilemma in the last issue, I will propose a solution that satisfies most long-term interests.
Use the electricity generated at the Mirror Pond dam to power all city and county offices and work sites. (You could also create additional capacity by putting in generator stations on the Deschutes, north of Awbrey Butte, as has been done with the agricultural water channeled from the river.) If there's excess capacity, include local-state work sites. Divert the money currently used by the city, county and, perhaps, local-state sites to pay-off a bond issued to pay for the dredging. In this way the dredging of the Pond is paid for by the river itself.
—John M. Carney
Remember when Juniper Ridge was being touted to us as a high tech job center, four-year university and research center, green community etc. As matter of fact it still is. I have to assume that city government elected and otherwise, were incompetent or misleading us, in their vision for the 1,500 acres. We are now being told that buying land on the West side of Bend and building a campus there is more cost effective. This by an ad hoc committee. The same people that made decisions on the BAT busses, The Bulletin building and other fiascos are now telling us that a muddy unsanitary pond in the middle of town is preferable to a scenic river and a college campus stuck in a small plot of land, which limits future expansion, is better then a 1,500-acre site designed for exactly that purpose by largely the same people. Seems like small town minds trying to run a large growing city, changing plans on the run.
Excellent column by Jim Anderson in the Source. Very sad to say, roaming cats are known to be a serious public health hazard. CDC reports show more rabies cases in cats than in dogs in the US today. But the tiny cat parasite Toxoplasma ('toxo') is the biggest problem. Toxoplasmosis in humans is linked to common ailments including schizophrenia, depression, suicide, seizures, dementia, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's, and more. Pregnant women can pass the parasite to the fetus. More than a million persons get infected with 'toxo' each year in the US, 20,000 have serious eye problems (CDC). If you think I'm just a modern Cassandra, do your own homework! Most research is on PubMed. Start with reports #23849140, 22830565, 22618566, 19744306. Don't expect your MD or veterinarian to be up-to-date on all the recent research. Please keep your cat indoors—out of the kids' sandboxes and our gardens.
Okay, so after reading some of the recent letters to the Source about the OSU location I felt the hair raise on my back of my neck. Two quotes especially, (opposed) "Because it's one of the most expensive residential areas" and "most of the homeowners in the surrounding area have paid higher dollar amounts both for the purchase of their homes and in higher property taxes." Because people have paid more for their homes does that mean that these type of commercial uses should be moved to the areas where people's property values are less. I moved here in 1988 from an area that had these kind of thoughts and was hoping I would not have to hear this again. Once again the division between East and West rears its ugly head. Though I am sure there are going to be some problems to work through with campus location, I still agree it is the best for the students and the atmosphere of a four-year university.
I would like to comment on the review of the beers of Rat Hole Brewing in the April 3 issue. I don't know who Thom Pastor is or what his qualifications for critiquing beer are but I'd be curious to know what beers are worthy of his praise, if any. Beer, like many things, is a subjective matter of taste for each individual. Personally, I find the beers of Rat Hole to be a refreshing change from the over the top, in your face types found in a lot of the "NW style" beers out there. Sitting at their bar talking with other customers, I get the feeling I'm not alone. By the way, the pilsner is not an American style, it's Czech. He did get one thing right though, the staff is one of the warmest and friendliest you will encounter.
Letters of the Week!
Hey Craig - We're so happy you've found a place where everybody knows you name, and we'd like to introduce you to Thom Pastor, our esteemed beer reviewer and author of Dessert Loves Beer. If you do want to venture to another refreshing venue, stop by our offices to pick up a $5 certificate to Crows' Feet Commons.