Opponents plan lake removal rally

Paddlers and pedestrians invited to event


September 29, 2022 | View PDF


Constructing new culverts and bridges would be some of the issues the Eugene Water & Electric Board would have to deal with if the Leaburg hydroelectric project was removed.

LEABURG: People who don't think removing Leaburg Dam and the lake it created are planning to make a public showing. Organizers of a "Save the Lake" petition say they've gathered around 800 signatures and are inviting the public to show up on Sunday, October 16th. Those that do are being asked to launch boats, kayaks, and paddleboards for a float on the lake at 3 p.m. People who don't take to the water can join a march across the dam.

In 2018 the Eugene Water & Electric Board drained the Leaburg Canal after identifying potentially dangerous leaks and seepage.

Since then the utility has been exploring whether to return the entire hydroelectric project back to full service, modify it, or remove it.

That last option has generated opposition from many area residents, including those who own property on the shoreline of the 40-acre lake. Besides that body of water, removal would involve taking out the Lea-burg Dam, the road on top of it, fish ladders, and 5 miles of canal levees.

At an estimated cost of $252.5 million, the full removal option would include reconnecting several tributary streams to the main McKenzie River.

EWEB is accepting public comment on the different proposals for the canal until October 10th. A complete draft assessment of the alternatives is scheduled for the Board of Commissioners' October meeting.


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