News Stories

Archive: 2020
  • September

    The Anatomy of an Outage: A Look Back at Bonneville Navigation Lock's Sill Failure

    On Sept. 5, 2019, a long unknown and undetected flaw became an impending failure at Bonneville navigation lock. More than 70 feet underwater, sections of rebar, threaded through 40,000 pounds of concrete, had stretched and bent until the strain snapped them. The now deformed steel bars were no match for the force of water that came every time the lock filled with water to pass vessels through the lock.
  • The legacy of Bud Ossey: Centenarian, former Portland District engineer helped electrify the Northwest

    Bud Ossey is probably one of the only people alive today who was there on the cool morning of Sept.
  • The longest shift: dam operator trapped at Detroit Dam during wildfires

    Before leaving for his work shift, Mike Pomeroy said goodbye to his wife, Ronda, the way he always did: with a promise. “I’ll see you in 14.” The powerplant operator then made the drive for his shift at Detroit Dam that Labor Day evening, in “red flag” conditions as the Beachie Fire consumed swaths of land to the northeast.
  • Violent confluence of Columbia River and Pacific Ocean make jetty work … weighty

    During violent winter storms, waves taller than the length of six king-sized beds stacked end-to-end (40 feet) can meet the Columbia River as it makes its way out to the Pacific Ocean. This concentrated colliding of water makes crossing the bar incredibly dangerous, according to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. So precarious, in fact, that this channel had a nickname, “the graveyard of the Pacific,” at least until the U.S. government built critical infrastructure to reduce some of the risk.
  • August

    Building Bridges

    You don’t have to be an engineer to build bridges. Patti Williams’ 34-year career connecting park and employee needs to available resources - and sometimes unavailable resources - is a testament to that.
  • July

    Fate and flows: Oregon native keeps water moving through state

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Salina Hart dreams about water. It makes sense: she grew up on the water, and often went tubing down the local Clackamas River, the North Santiam and the Long Tom. Even after the massive local floods of 1996 swelled the river, inundated her home and took out most of her neighborhood, she still loved water.