When it comes to the future of the man-made pond backed up behind an old hydroelectric dam in downtown, the Bend City Council stacked the deck by appointing a Mirror Pond Management Board rather than a Deschutes River Reclamation Board to guide us.
The name alone suggests the inherent bias that's now given us as skewed a survey as we've ever seen marched out for legitimate purposes. The survey, which can be found atmirrorpondbend.com, is ostensibly designed to gauge public opinion on what to do about the pond, which is now laden with silt.
For instance, the survey asks how strongly you agree with statements like "Mirror Pond is beautiful to look at" and in the meantime minimizes the option many in the community heartily endorse: Restoring the Deschutes to an actual river with healthy stream flows and riparian habitat alongside areas for recreation.
This is unacceptable.
We believe the board will likely use the results of this bogus survey to prop up a save-the-pond movement. To avert this, we recommend you take the survey and rely heavily on the write-in-your-own-answer-here options.
Where it asks what aspects of Bend the pond symbolizes, you might suggest "Our forebears' obtuse quest to dominate nature." Where it lists options for dealing with siltation, consider "Removing the dam." And when it asks how you'd allocate $10 toward an array of actions, you might put it all toward "Let our river flow!"
Let's emphatically reject the tired notion that Mirror Pond symbolizes Bend the way the Gateway Arch symbolizes St. Louis. A good symbol for 21st-century Bend would be something dynamic and vital, a naturally flowing river with rapids, boulders, plants and wildlife.
You should also weigh in at one of the board's forums, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, and next Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Bend Park & Recreation District Offices at 799 SW Columbia St. While you're at the mic, give the board the boot for trying to manipulate and confine public thinking on the issue instead of forthrightly declaring its openness to a fresh approach.
We were surprised this past week to see The Bulletin blast away at Mayor Jim Clinton for his support of a ban on plastic bags. Their line of reasoning went, with "the number of serious, even critical problems facing the city...now is not the time to take on plastic bags." Well, as much as we do adore Bulletin finger-wagging, we thought we'd give our readers a quick heads up that Clinton says he never intended to bring a ban vote to the council. He does, however, recommend citizens support a state effort to minimize plastic bags. While dealing with this trash may not top The Bulletin's list of city priorities, we feel ignoring them is similar to the shortsightedness that got us into trouble with many of our community's problems. We also feel setting artificially low standards for this council around environmental issues is not in anyone's best interest. Jim, here's a glass slipper in the hopes that you do bring a bag ban before council. And, Bulletin, here's a boot in the hopes you reconsider whether this council is capable of dealing with issues both large and small.