Updated Dam Failure Maps Available

Mar 19, 2014

What happens if a dam fails during normal summer conditions? What if a dam breaks when it’s flooding or snowing? To answer those questions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has updated its dam failure inundation maps.

The Corps created maps of failure scenarios for all 13 dams in the Willamette Valley. Their release last year drew hundreds of requests. The Corps is holding viewings for those citizens who expressed interest. Matt Craig is a Dam Safety Program Manager.

Inundation map for Oakridge, if the Hills Creek Dam were to fail.
Credit Karen Richards

Craig: “The intent of these maps is really to be in the hands of, say, Lane County and emergency managers so that they can create an evacuation plan. The maps themselves aren’t really an action plan of any kind.”

The old maps were static, and showed only one worst-case scenario outlined topographically. The new maps are electronic and contain overlays for things like police and fire stations.

Craig says Lane County is in the process of creating evacuation routes based on the information. The Corps hopes all affected areas will come up with updated emergency plans.