The Corps' seven Willamette Valley flood-control reservoirs in operation at the time significantly reduced flood damage to downstream communities.
This graph shows three hydrographs at several USGS gages.
The blue line represents the actual flow observed in the 1964 Christmas Flood.
The red line is the estimated flow that would have occurred if no dams were in place.
The green line is the estimated flow if all 11 of today’s Willamette Valley flood-control reservoirs were in place.
How much of a difference is that?
This picture shows Salem Memorial Hospital during the flood.
The red line on the buildings shows how much higher the water would have been if no dams had been in place at the time of the flood - nearly 7 feet, or most of another story of the building.
Since 1964, the Corps added four more flood-control dams to our Willamette Valley Project, plus two in the Rogue River Basin, where none existed in 1964.
We’ve also added Willow Creek Dam near Heppner, Ore.
Learn more about our new approaches to flood risk management here.