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News Stories

  • July

    That sounds fishy: fish ladders at high-head dams impractical, largely unneeded

    Humans. What other sentient being designs a tool requiring hands and feet and expects animals without limbs to use it? Alas, the answer is humans. Humans created a ladder for fish, which is quite effective in certain situations – but isn’t a blanket solution to every fish passage problem. And while most humans would agree that ladders can be useful for climbing short distances, perhaps 20-50 feet– another tool – like an elevator or truck – may be a better option to climb hundreds of feet. Otherwise, there would need to be more infrastructure to support that ladder, or perhaps it would need to be a staircase at that point. This is similar for fish when moving them up and downstream.
  • June

    Big Bertha heads to Benson Beach, battles erosion

    Off the coast of Oregon, Big Bertha moves in the water, inching toward land. Bertha, as her government creators to refer to it, is the result of three years of inter-agency planning. Her architects; some of whom work for the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; conscripted half of Portland District’s dredge fleet to scrape the river bottom and collect what was to become Bertha: a migrating mound of sand.
  • That sounds fishy: twisting traps troll tributaries in the Willamette

    The bulky contraptions float listlessly downstream of three dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The buoyant, metal devices hold large screws that the water flow turns. This twist of the screw – creating a creaking, rasping, scraping sound – generates enough hydraulics to keep small fish from escaping the slowly spinning, cone-shaped collectors – or, screw traps.
  • May

    'I had to be true to myself'

    "When I said no and that I was going to college, it broke her heart,” says Gentilcore. “She thought that I was always going to take over the family business.” Gentilcore left for college anyway. For her, the choice wasn’t about what others expected. It was about finding happiness.
  • Building dams and, we hope, public trust

    I take pride in knowing my organization, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District, has played an important role in the story of how our country taps into our water resources like the Willamette River. On April 17, the district celebrated 150 years of serving Oregon and southwestern Washington.    
  • February

    Containing the Flood of 1996

    One of the biggest floods the Portland District faced in the late 20th century occurred in February 1996 and caused millions of dollars in damage to the region. The District played a crucial role in combating this flood 's impact through a variety of short-term and long-term activities.