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Federal Surveyors Investigating Structural Integrity, Performance, Of Oregon Dams

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Three dams in the Willamette Valley are being checked out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, it’s part of an ongoing program to ensure their safety and stability.  

The Hills Creek, Cougar, and Lookout Point dams are all more than a half century old.  Corps officials say they’ve collectively prevented nearly $9 billion in potential flood damages.  The field studies being carried out are to help make sure they are sturdy, reliable, and will continue to prevent flooding in their downstream communities. 

Credit National Weather Service.
Lookout Point Dam.

Michelle Helms is a Corps spokeswoman.  She says there’s nothing about these field studies to suggest there’s an immediate or pending emergency.

“We’re confident that the dams are reliable.  These field studies are part of our issue-evaluation studies which fall under our dam safety program," she tells KLCC.   

"And an important part of that program is to monitor the condition and the performance of the dams, insuring that they are performing in the way that they were intended when they were built.” 

Helms says the Army Corps expected to have the results collected and compiled in roughly two years.  The exact timeline will depend on how well Oregon weather cooperates.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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