Hydro project added to Historic Registry
July 23, 2015
The Leaburg Hydroelectric Project was put into service in January 1930 and continues to generate electric power as part of the Eugene Water & Electric Board system, a municipally owned utility located in Lane County. It is located along approximately five miles of the McKenzie River in the vicinity of Leaburg, and consists of the dam and powerhouse; the reservoir, canal and tailrace; and Leaburg Village, built to house dam workers.
The Leaburg Hydroelectric Project was constructed between 1928 and 1930 and completed as originally envisioned in June 1950. Designed by the Portland engineering firm of Stevens & Koon, the facility is significant for its engineering design, incorporating innovative technological features such as the Broome Self-Closing Sluice Gate and three 100’-long roller gates. It is also significant for its art and architecture. The powerhouse was designed by Ellis Lawrence, the founder of the University of Oregon school of architecture. The bas relief panels on the building were created by the nationally prominent sculptor Harry Camden Poole. The power-house is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture used in an industrial setting in Oregon.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preserva-tion recommended the site’s nomination in their February 2015 meeting. The Leaburg Hydroelectric Project Historic District is only the second property in the Leaburg area to be listed in the National Register, the first being the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery Historic District. The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
Image above: Art Deco detailing on the Leaburg powerhouse helped it gain national recognition.
McKenzie River Reflections