Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let developers, PacifiCorp dredge Mirror Pond

If prominent local developers Bill Smith and Todd Taylor want to own the land under Mirror Pond, then let them be responsible for the occasional dredging of Bend's iconic pond.

Without PacifiCorp's hydro facility at the north end of the pond, we wouldn't have this sediment problem. Of course, we also wouldn't have one of the more scenic urban settings in the Northwest.

With the small hydro facility at the end of its 100-year life span, PacifiCorp wants to dump the dam and its costly removal onto the lap of Bend's taxpayers.

Nevermind that PacifiCorp has made millions over the decades from  the electricity generated at Mirror Pond. For a corporation, it's never enough.

If PacifiCorp can dupe the city of Bend and the park district into paying millions for the removal of the dam, it'll laugh all the way to the bank.

Corporations are adept at saddling taxpayers with the cost of the problems they create. It's part of their business plans.

We won't hear this from the local press.

The media have always done the bidding of corporations (so much for left-wing bias) because they know how their bread is buttered.

It's likely that most Bend residents would like to see Mirror Pond kept as it is rather than as a free-flowing river with less curb appeal.

Unfortunately, all of Bend's property taxpayers would be saddled with the enormous bill for something that primarily benefits Bend's west side.

Bend's northside, southside and eastside residents should realize that if they agree to subsidize Bend's west side livability, it means there will be little money left to improve livability in their neck of the woods. In fact, there will be no money for any other projects in Bend.

Ironically, we wouldn't have this discussion at all if Bend's developers had succeeded in building homes on the banks of Mirror Pond as they originally intended to do.

It was Bend's women who fought to preserve the area in 1921 that became Drake Park and, today, is synonymous with the city itself.

Now, nearly 100 years later, we have developers trying to preserve the Mirror Pond/Drake Park experience.

No one is stopping developers or PacifiCorp from dredging the river, removing the dam or maintaining the status quo.

But, they want Bend's property taxpayers to pay the freight.

Well, put up the money yourselves or shut up.

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