EWEB to outline plans at Leaburg meeting

Dam removal is expected during the 2030’s

 

LEABURG: Next week, the Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioners plan to provide an overview of what is likely to occur as plans move forward to permanently discontinuing generating electricity at the Leaburg Hydroelectric Project. Issues sure to be aired at their May 16th upriver meeting include when work to remove Leaburg Dam could get underway and if the utility’s federal license to operate the project will also require removing the Walterville project.

At the board’s May 2nd meeting, generation manager Lisa Krentz noted that planning for removal work and ongoing agency consultations is likely to take 10 years, putting the actual start date in the mid-2030s. In the interim, though, EWEB will be doing other activities along the Leaburg Canal, she said, “on our near-term risk reduction measures” to make sure the canal will continue to be safe while it redirects side stream and rainfall runoff back to the McKenzie River.

Residents with south-side properties that are accessed over Leaburg Dam Road can expect to be updated. EWEB has gone on record saying it will continue to “investigate and facilitate all potential options with those agencies responsible for transportation in the area.”

Given the strong local interest, at-large Commissioner Mindy Schlossberg cautioned that during discussions of the utility’s Action Plan, the utility needs to “be really clear that this is a plan to create an action plan.”

Board member John Brown noted that decisions “can’t be made overnight and will take years to do.” He felt that the sooner information was available, the better. “I don’t want to wait until the bottom of the ninth,” he said, regarding issues like water for the fish hatchery and south bank access.

 

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