BEND, OR -- The water level of Mirror Pond, in downtown Bend, is a couple of feet lower than it should be.
Tom Gaunt, with Pacific Power, says an employee discovered a problem with a wooden panel inside the 100-year-old dam that helps form Mirror Pond, "A special little passage area – a gate – to allow ice and other things to pass through. It was sealed up 25 years ago, and after the passage of time and the river, more water was going through it; it had developed a leak." He tells KBND News, "The fix, which we have done all along the face of the dam over the past several years, is to insert some sheets of metal right up against the dam, so that it basically keeps any water from flowing through. And, obviously, it’s a lot more resilient than the wood that had been there. And, that’s going to take a little while to get going." Similar work was done in 2008, 2009 and 2014 after other small leaks were discovered.
PacifiCorps is working now to secure the proper permits for the job, which includes bringing in a crane to install those steel "sheet piles." Gaunt says it must be done, "You wouldn’t be able to regulate the real level of the dam, which is essential for Mirror Pond, and the reason the dam is there is to generate hydro-power." He says power generation would be impacted if the water level continues to drop, "It’s been about two feet below the level of normal; maybe four free, depending upon how things come and go."
He expects the work to begin in early November and last about four weeks. The dam is located near the Newport Ave. bridge.