Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacific Power in Standoff with Mirror Pond Management Board

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 5:30 PM

click to enlarge The majority of survey respondents wished to see the dam go away.
  • The majority of survey respondents wished to see the dam go away.

The mood was TENSE in today's Mirror Pond Management Board meeting as its members, one after another, put Pacific Power representative Angela Price on the spot. The meeting was originally arranged so that project manager Jim Figurski could share the results from the latest survey. But what followed could only be described as a standoff between Pacific Power and the various members of the management board who wanted to know one thing—when is the dam coming out?

"I need to know about the dam," said City Councilor Mark Capell. 
"It's time to turn our attention toward this fundamental question," said Ryan Houston, executive director of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. "If we don't go there, it's really hard to know what we're looking at."
"All of these acts depend on Pacific Power," said David Rosell with the Bend Chamber of Commerce.
"Forget which way we choose," said Todd Heisler, executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy.

But Price, speaking on behalf of Pacific Power, the owners of the 100-year-old Newport Avenue Dam, refused to reveal the utility company's intentions. "We don't have a date," Price said, stonewalling her peers. She then proceeded to flip every question back on the board. "If something rises to be the preferred alternative we will support that."

And therein lies the impasse. Pacific Power says they first need to hear from the community. But the management board says it needs Pacific Power to make the call before they can more forward. For what it's worth the community HAS spoken. Figurski said that of the 1,224 people (most were longtime Bend residents) who took the recent survey regarding the proposed options for Mirror Pond,  47% were in favor of removing the dam, as compared with 43% who wanted the dam to stay.

Tomorrow Figurski will go to City Councilors with the results. What the ultimate fix will be and who (or which governing body) will make that call remains something of an unknown.

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