News Releases

Cougar Dam Road closure extended

Published Jan. 25, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – The road over Cougar Dam and Reservoir, located on the South Fork of the McKenzie River, will remain closed due to construction and a geotechnical investigation through the end of February 2018.

The road has been closed since July 27, 2017 in order to support maintenance and rehabilitation of the structure’s spillway gates. After construction on the spillway gates is completed, the Corps’ Dam Safety team will conduct a geotechnical investigation which includes boring into the dam. The data from the borings will provide valuable information on the physical properties of the dam and will be used to study how the dam will perform under various conditions. The primary objective of the Corps' Dam Safety Program is to maintain public safety by ensuring the dams it owns and operates are as safe as possible, and that risks to the public are minimized. The field work is expected to take 10-14 days.  

The west side of Cougar Reservoir and access to Terwilliger Hot Springs from Forest Service Road 19, about 3 miles south of the dam, remains blocked due to rockfall. Because of the rockfall and the dam road closure, there is no safe way to reach the hot springs at this time. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates 13 dam and reservoir projects in the Willamette River drainage system. Each dam contributes to a water resource management system that provides flood damage reduction, power generation, irrigation, water quality improvement, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation on the Willamette River and many of its tributaries. Since their completion, the dams have cumulatively prevented over $20 billion in flood damages to the Willamette Valley. For more information, visit

Tom Conning
(503) 808-4510
P.O. Box 2946, Portland, OR 97208-2946

Release no. 18-005

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