US Army Corps of Engineers
Portland District

Corps confirms localized sediment contamination in Big Cliff Reservoir. Read news release here

The project office is located at the Eugene, Ore. Federal Building, 211 E. 7th St., Ste. 480
Eugene, OR 97401-2773. Office hours are 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

General: 541-684-4300
Recreation: 541-942-5631

Email the Willamette Valley Project

The Willamette Valley Project pamphlet

The Willamette Valley Project

The Portland District operates 13 dams in the Willamette River basin. Each dam contributes to a water resource management system that provides flood risk management, power generation, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation for the Willamette River and many of its tributaries.

Willamette Valley commemorates 50 years

This year, Blue River Dam turns 50-years-old, and marks the 50th commemoration of the completion of the entire system of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 13 dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which has been systematically protecting people, infrastructure and a way-of-life since 1969. We acknowledge dam construction and ongoing operations have created challenges but the Corps' goal is to balance the priorities of the region by balancing our authorized purposes. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Blue River Dam and Reservoir in 1969 to manage flood risks from the McKenzie River, a tributary of the Willamette River, east of Eugene, Oregon. It is one 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette Valley System and has helped the Corps reduce the severity of floods, which saves the region an estimated one billion dollars per year. Portland District is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the system, this year.

Map of the Willamette Valley Project

For more information about a specific dam, click on its name on the map.

Since their completion, the dams have cumulatively prevented more than $25 billion in flood damages to the Willamette Valley. The Willamette River Basin is bounded by the Cascade Mountains on the east and the Coast Range on the west.

Although Corps dams only regulate about 27 percent of the surface area runoff in the Willamette Basin above its confluence with the Columbia River, our efforts help reduce flood damage in the Willamette River Basin, as well the North and South Santiam, McKenzie, Coast Fork, Long Tom and Middle Fork Willamette river tributary basins.  

During the rainy season, potentially disastrous flooding is managed by storing water in the reservoirs behind the dams. During the summer, water levels in the reservoirs are maintained as high as possible to provide for reservoir water-related recreation opportunities.  In the drier summer and fall months when rivers are at low levels, stored water is released from the dams to improve water quality and conditions for fish.  

Nine of the Willamette Valley dams generate hydroelectricity from the power of water passing through the dams. Eight of these facilities are owned and operated by the Corps of Engineers, and one is a private facility licensed by FERC.  These dams can provide enough power to service about 300,000 homes (500 mw).

Federal, state and local agencies and many Willamette Valley stakeholders are united in their commitment to protect native fish populations and their habitat. They have been working together for many years, along with private interests, on improvements essential for the successful protection and recovery of these Northwest treasures.  The Corps is a partner in efforts to revitalize our streams and habitats throughout the Willamette Valley.

There are more than 50 developed recreation sites within the Willamette Valley Project. Activities available at each reservoir vary, but may include: camping, picnicking, boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, hunting, hiking, biking, equestrian use and wildlife viewing.Link to Hills Creek page Link to Lookout Point page Link to Cottage Grove page Link to Dorena page Link to Dexter page Link to Fall Creek page Link to Blue River page Link to Cougar page Link to Fern Ridge page Link to Green Peter page Link to Foster page Link to Detroit page Link to Big Cliff page