News Releases

Spillway gate rehab will lower Lookout Point Reservoir summer water levels

Published March 11, 2015
PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers alerts Lookout Point Reservoir users that the reservoir’s water level will be kept at least 60 feet below its usual maximum elevation this summer, affecting recreational access.

Lookout Point Dam and Reservoir are located on the Middle Fork Willamette River about 22 miles southeast of Eugene, Oregon. The Corps will rehabilitate the dam’s five spillway gates from July 2015 through November 2018, improving its ability to reduce flood damage to Eugene, Springfield and other downriver communities.

The Corps will rehabilitate two spillway gates from July through November 2015, and one additional gate from September through November each year after.

“Lookout Point Dam does not have stop logs (metal wall segments that can be placed between the reservoir and spillway gates) to keep the work area unwatered,” said Jerry Otto, Corps project manager for the rehabilitation project. “Instead, we will manage the reservoir’s elevation to keep it at least 20 feet below the spillway crest whenever possible.”

Otto added that the spillway gates themselves would be pinned in place, providing extra storage space in the reservoir in the event of a major flood event.

Corps reservoir regulators expect to fill Lookout Point Reservoir to no higher than 900 feet above sea level this spring, in order to draw it back down to the needed work elevation by July. The lower water levels will make the Black Canyon (ramp toe at 900 feet), and Meridian Park and Hampton Landing (ramp toes at 911 feet) boat ramps unusable throughout the spring and summer. The Signal Point boat ramp is usable down to elevation 821 feet.

“We understand the impact of this drawdown on reservoir users, but our highest priority is improving Lookout Point Dam’s ability to reduce flood damage to Willamette River communities,” Otto said.

With a total capacity of 477,700 acre feet of flood storage, Lookout Point is the largest of the Corps’ 10 Willamette Valley Project flood damage reduction reservoirs. It is estimated to alone have prevented $55.6 million in damage to Willamette River communities in 2013.

Inspections and evaluations in 2010 determined that many Portland District dams’ spillway gates might not operate properly when water levels are high and significant pressure is acting on the gates. After replacing or repairing critical components at several dams, Portland District has been pursuing long-term gate rehabilitation at its Willamette Valley Project dams.

All of Big Cliff and Dexter dams' spillway gates have been strengthened. Rehabilitation of Fall Creek and Green Peter dams' gates is in progress and scheduled for completion in February 2016. The need for longer-term gate rehabilitation work remains at four other dams.

For more information about the Corps’ Willamette Valley flood risk management mission and spillway gate rehabilitation program, visit 

For information about other Willamette Valley Project recreation options, visit
Scott Clemans

Release no. 15-008

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