Preservation of an Icon:

The Mirror Pond Project


Project Update: The Latest

Last month, the City of Bend and the Bend Metro Park & Rec District reached a resolution that will finally allow us to take action on the Mirror Pond Sediment Removal Project. Four years in the making, we are thrilled to have the support—both financially and publicly—of the City of Bend and the Bend Metro Park & Rec District to work toward the restoration and beautification of our landmark Mirror Pond. 

The City of Bend has agreed to put $3.0 million dollars toward the Mirror Pond Sediment Removal Project with the Bend Metro Park & Rec District contributing $300,000—under their vision for the future of Bend. The Pacific Power Foundation will be contributing up to $1.9 million to the Project as well. With an estimated total project cost of $5.5 million, there is still work to be done to fully fund the preservation of this Bend icon.

For more information, email

Background on the Project

An exhaustive public process conducted during the 2015, led by the Parks District, titled "Mirror Pond and Downtown Bend Visioning." The outcome of this visioning process was a memorandum of understanding executed between Mirror Pond Solutions and the Parks District, with input and concurrence by the City for the preservation of Mirror Pond, including silt removal (dredging), stormwater improvements, and bank stabilization.


The MOU ("Memorandum Of Understanding") clearly laid out the responsibilities of each of these three parties and—based on this MOU—work then commenced to move the vision forward. Mirror Pond Solutions, the organization driving forward The Mirror Pond Project, has acted in good faith and upheld its responsibilities under the MOU by securing permits from all regulatory agencies, developing construction drawings, and creating workplans. At this time, a working group has been formed with members of the Bend City Council, Bend Parks & Recreation Board and Mirror Pond Solutions for the purpose of exploring options to fully fund the project.


Facts About the Project

  • Free-flowing river is not a viable option

    • Dam is owned and controlled by PacifiCorp

    • PacifiCorp has indicated intent to keep the dam in place and in operation indefinitely

    • PacifiCorp continues to maintain and improve their facilities (as recent as Monday 6/18/18)

  • Silt removal is necessary for the health of the River and the Pond

    • Remove pollutants and contaminants from the 11 City storm drain outfalls (11,000 Acre drainage area)

      • Cinders applied to roads in winter, oils from vehicles, fertilizers, anything that runs off into the storm drains within the 11,000 acre drainage area ends up in the pond

    • Deepen the water column to reduce water temperature—providing better environment for fish

    • Remove hazards associated with current condition

      • Foot entrapment in deep mud

      • Impalement on old pilings

      • Eliminate odor in downtown area from decay/decomp when mud is exposed (low water)

    • Preserve the value of the pond to Bend's economy

    • Restore the recreational opportunities within the pond when the silt isn't in the way

    • Kayak, paddleboard, swimming, duck race, etc.

  • Not "Corporate Welfare"

    • Land under the pond is owned by Mirror Pond Solutions for the beneficial use of all Bend residents

    • Neither MPS nor affiliated companies stand to benefit financially by this project

      • Dredging Contractor selected based on qualifications and history of completing sensitive projects

      • Trucking provided by Taylor Northwest, at cost (effectively a donation as this takes away from profitable work opportunities).

      • Significant effort and cost has been committed by MPS to secure the land and permits in accordance with the terms of the MOU entered into with the Parks District and in conjunction with the City since 2015

    • Upon completion of the project, the intention is to donate the land to the Parks District

    • Cost of prior cleanup efforts (dredging in 1943, 1960's, 1984) were shared by the City & Parks, PacifiCorp, and private citizen groups—similar to the current proposed cost sharing

  • Mirror Pond is an iconic piece of Bend's history and future

    • The pond literally shapes our city; the city was built around it

    • The pond is formed by the Newport dam which is owned by PP&L, who intends to keep it indefinitely

    • The pond is a recognizable feature that benefits local businesses through tourism interest

    • The pond forms the backdrop of Drake Park, the highest utilized park in the district


For a healthy river and a healthy Mirror Pond, we need to remove all of the debris and silt that has accumulated over the past 34 years and fix the City's storm drain system to stop dumping debris into the Pond. 


In the words of Councilor Boddie during the October 4, 2017 City Council meeting, "one of the things I had brought up a couple of years ago and that I continue to worry about is that essentially unmanaged stormwater that's running into the river. Not real good idea for the river or you know a town that kinda cares about things like you know natural resources and clean water." (Recorded during City Council Meeting 10/4/18, 1:44:30).

You can send your charitable, tax-deductible contribution check to:

Celebrate Bend Foundation

547 SW 13th St, Suite 3

Bend, Oregon 97702

Celebrate Bend Foundation is an IRS-approved 501(c)3 with EIN: 41-2127869. 


Preservation of an Icon: The Mirror Pond Project

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Photo by Spencer Dahl

© 2018 by Celebrate Bend Foundation.