Unfenced and one of only four in Forest Grove, pond is full of fish

Forest Grove city councilors seem interested in finding a way to open Double Pond to the public, at least on a limited basis.

Double Pond is one of only four year-round ponds among the city’s 150 official water-quality facilities. Of those, it’s the only unfenced pond — perhaps because it is also the most accessible and attractive.

It’s also full of fish, which led Alec Lecarno, 13, and his father, John Lecarno, to ask city councilors at their June 10 meeting to remove the “No Trespassing” signs and open it legally for children to fish.

“I think it’s a lot better activity than playing video games or watching TV,” said Alec, who has quietly fished the pond for years — until a neighbor began reporting him to police (News-Times feature story June 5).

Several councilors raised the issue of city liability for potential dangers such as assaults, drownings or health problems from eating the fish.

Urban runoff helps fill the pond, Councilor Elena Uhing pointed out. “It’s a lot of chemicals,” she said,

“There’d have to be some sort of quid pro quo on the part of the fishermen not to hold the city liable,” Mayor Pete Truax said.

Lecarno said nobody eats the fish: “I know (Alec) doesn’t. It’s all catch and release.”

Councilor Richard Kidd encouraged his fellow councilors to “look very closely and see if it’s possible if this facility can be available for those experiences I had growing up.”

Councilor Tom Johnston, who will be leaving shortly for a six-week fishing trip, touted the sport’s benefits. “It teaches you discipline. And it teaches you patience.”

Councilor Ron Thompson suggested the city might be able to incorporate the pond into plans for the city’s trail system, which would pass nearby.

As of last Thursday, “we haven’t had a chance to investigate or thoroughly discuss this issue yet,” City Manager Michael Sykes said.

Councilor Victoria Lowe, who supports looking into the idea, warned Alec about unintended consequences if his wish is granted: “Sometimes when you let your favorite fishing hole be known, you get a lot of competition.”

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