Mirror Pond levels to drop next week for dam inspection

Bend, Ore. — PacifiCorp will lower the Mirror Pond water levels next week to facilitate another inspection of the dam.

The inspection will be conducted by Gannett Fleming, an engineering firm from Phoenix, for the Bend Parks and Recreation District as part of deliberations around the potential acquisition of the dam from PacifiCorp to maintain Mirror Pond after the facility is no longer used to generate electricity.

The drawdown will begin Tuesday morning and will continue gradually until about midday on Friday. The pond will be allowed to refill starting Friday afternoon and should be full again by the Sunday morning. The inspection itself is scheduled to occur on Thursday and Friday. According to BPRD employee Jim Figurski, for safety and security reasons, access to the inspection will be limited to BPRD personnel, the inspectors and PacifiCorp.

Because of increased flows compared to last October when the Mirror Pond was drawn down to facilitate a PacifiCorp inspection, water levels are not expected to drop as dramatically this time, although it will likely be noticeable.

As was the case during the October drawdown and refilling of Mirror Pond, PacifiCorp will monitor water quality and conduct fish surveys consistent with state regulatory requirements.

PacifiCorp inspected the dam on October 31 after a leak developed in one of the structure’s wooden panels. The inspection concluded that while the facility was safe, it would not be cost effective to rebuild the entire facility to generate power for current and future generations of customers across PacifiCorp’s six-state territory. Since then, the company and representatives of the Bend Parks and Recreation and the City of Bend have been in discussions around potentially transferring the dam to a local entity so the community can realize its vision for the future of Mirror Pond.

PacifiCorp has announced plans to install sheet pile reinforcement in front of the leaking panel. The reinforcement work is planned to take place in April, or earlier if permitting is complete and a contractor is in place. The company does not anticipate needing to lower Mirror Pond levels again for that procedure.

Potential flooding for Tumalo

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to monitor the situation regarding potential flooding along the Deschutes River in the Tumalo area. In coordination with the Deschutes Basin Watermaster, we have been assessing the potential risk of flooding that could involve homes in Tumalo. At this time, stream gauges are continuing to rise along the Deschutes River.

Due to the potential risk, we are asking those recreating on the river such as kayakers to use caution and avoid accessing the river below Mirror Pond. Hazardous river conditions could exist. We also ask that people avoid low lying areas such as river trails along the Deschutes River.

The potential for flooding exists in the Tumalo community. Residents that live along the Deschutes River in Tumalo should be prepared for a flood event. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Water Master have been contacting residents in areas of highest risk to offer information.

Preparations include:

· Move valuables to higher ground, or higher floors
· Prepare a disaster kit. For more information see: www.ready.gov
· Prepare for evacuation as necessary
· Avoid walking or driving through high water

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management is coordinating with the Deschutes Basin Watermaster and their partners to monitor and respond to this event. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Volunteers are preparing to offer assistance in the event it becomes necessary.

Flooding Expected Along Little Deschutes and Deschutes Rivers

On 02-16-14, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office became aware of high water flows along the Little Deschutes River in the La Pine area. Based on information from the Deschutes Basin Water Master, we expect flooding to increase that could affect homes over the next few days.

Residents of La Pine along the Little Deschutes River to the confluence with the Deschutes River should begin making preparations for high water that will likely affect homes. The water will continue to rise peaking over the next few hours.

Residents in the Tumalo area along the Deschutes River will likely see high water peaking sometime on Monday night through Tuesday morning. Tumalo residents along the Deschutes River should begin making preparations for high water that could affect homes.

Preparations include:

Move valuables to higher ground, or higher floors
Prepare a disaster kit. For more information see: www.ready.gov
Prepare for evacuation as necessary
Avoid walking or driving through high water

Other areas may see high water, but the primary watch locations are mentioned above.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management is coordinating with the Deschutes Basin Water Master and their partners to monitor and respond to this event. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Volunteers are preparing to offer assistance.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office requests unneeded sandbags distributed on Friday, February 14th be returned to the Riverwoods Country Store to be used other parts of the county.

BY: Sgt. Nathan Garibay, Emergency Services Manager

Mirror Pond Dam Fix Planned for April

BEND, Ore. – PacifiCorp will reinforce a section of the company’s dam in downtown Bend to address a leak in one of the structure’s wooden panels that developed in October of 2013. The installation of steel sheet pile upstream of a leaking panel is planned to begin in April.

The company stopped generating power at the dam following the leak, and announced in November that it is not cost-effective to rebuild the entire facility to generate power for current and future generations of customers across its six-state territory. PacifiCorp has since been in formal discussions with Bend Parks and Recreation and the City of Bend regarding a potential transfer of the dam to a local entity for the purpose of maintaining the Mirror Pond impoundment.

“Though the dam remains safe, we fully understand the community’s concern about the potential for low water levels during summer recreation months,” said Mark Tallman, PacifiCorp’s vice president for renewable resources. “It’s possible Mirror Pond would have remained full this summer without this fix, but in our view this is the right action to take at this time.” Tallman said. “This reinforcement is also anticipated to restore hydro generation for the year, and should provide the community with more certainty about the structure and Mirror Pond during the summer season and going forward.”

The company used the sheet pile technique previously to address similar leaks in other wooden panels, known as bays. The work involves driving long pieces of interlocking steel sheets into the river bed to create steel facing on the upstream side of the leaking panel.

“This action will also facilitate further discussions with community leaders to determine if an agreement can be reached that enables PacifiCorp to clearly demonstrate that placing the dam under local control is better for all our customers than dam removal or other alternatives,” Tallman said.

“The company is very committed to trying to find the best possible outcome regarding this facility that balances the community’s priorities for Mirror Pond and our regulatory obligations” said Scott Bolton, PacifiCorp’s vice president for community and government relations. “That includes taking steps like this reinforcement as part of our community commitment, and our support of efforts by community leaders to preserve Mirror Pond’s future.” Bolton added, “We are hopeful an agreement can be reached that allows this to happen and also protects the interest of our rate-paying customers in Bend and throughout our six-state service area.”

Bend Senior High School Lockdown Release Information

Bend Police and Emergency Responders were called to Bend Senior High School shortly after a noon 9-1-1 call that a student had allegedly committed suicide on campus. The school is in lockdown at this hour as police investigate the situation. There is no further threat to students or staff and the building is secure. A crisis team has arrived on campus and is meeting with those affected.

Staff will begin escorting students out of the building, by wing, to their vehicles, buses, and off campus – for pedestrians and bike riders – at approximately 2:35pm. Student pedestrians and drivers will exit campus via the 6th Street and Clay campus exit. Parents can pick up their students at the Presbyterian Church on 9th Street. Campus will remain closed to visitors through the weekend.

Students, staff or community members who would like to meet with counselors, at no cost, can drop in to Bear Creek Elementary School between 9am – 2pm tomorrow.

All evening activities are canceled at Bend Senior High.

Our hearts go out to the students, staff and our community at Bend Senior High School.

Normally, the District and law enforcement would not share public information regarding a suicide, but due to the circumstances, the District felt it important to share this sad information with families and the community.