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The youth fishing pond at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds won't hold water, leading a die-off of fish.

COURTESY PHOTO - The youth fishing pond at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds isn't holding water, and the fish in the pond are dying.Leaks in the fishing pond at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds have led to a die-off of fish.

The county wasn't planning to fill the pond this year, but the city of Madras diverted 3 acre-feet of its water to the county, followed by another 3 acre-feet. The Jefferson County Fairgrounds added another 3 acre-feet, said Dana Lundy, the county's director of building and grounds.

"It's not holding water," Lundy said. "It's kind of been that way since construction. In other years, you could buy extra water. Because we're in a drought, everybody's so cut back with water that you can't get into overages.

"Our water usage at the fairgrounds, as of today, we've used 55% of our allotment just trying to keep everything going," Lundy said Tuesday. "It's a real shame that things turned out like they did."

The county is looking at two solutions. One is to cover the bottom and part of the sides with bentonite clay. Lundy said that would have to wait until fall because the pond has to be dry.

"Or you can buy liners for ponds, but they're very expensive," Lundy said.

In the meantime, the county is burying the dead fish.

Jeff Hurd, the city of Madras' public works director, said he is trying to let it go.

"I don't understand what's happened," he said.

The city offered to fill the pond when staff heard that it wasn't going to be filled.

"We found it they were just going to let it empty," he said, adding that County Administrator Jeff Rasmussen told him the pond was leaking much more than was expected.

He said he suggested the county work with the city and PGE to fix the pond, but he didn't expect the county to let it drain.

"I was kind of frustrated," he said. "I was trying to do good."

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