Copter to dismantle Powerdale pipe


News staff writer

March 3, 2007

A Chinook helicopter flying over the outskirts of Hood River in recent months has meant that a search and rescue operation was underway on Mount Hood — but the mission will be much different today.

A private chopper has been hired by PacifiCorp to salvage about 180 feet of 10-inch diameter steel pipe from Powerdale Dam. About 2,500 feet of wood and steel infrastructure has already been removed. The Hood River hydropower plant was taken offline by massive mudflows on Nov 7.

Dave Kvamme, PacifiCorp spokesperson, said the helicopter is necessary to remove the remaining sections of pipe that are located at the base of a steep canyon an inaccessible to regular vehicles. The pipe was either washed off its foundation or wrenched out of alignment by the force of the floodwaters.

“Anything that has been damaged we’re removing — more from a public safety angle than anything else,” he said.

He asks that curiosity seekers stay away from the work site and the off-loading area off Orchard Road near the Ken Jernstedt Airfield.

“We have designed the flight plan to avoid any houses or downtown Hood River,” said Kvamme.

He said the plan is to have the pipe dismantled on March 3, unless there are adverse weather conditions or flight scheduling delays.

Kvamme said the dam on the Hood River just south of the city is located near prime fishing holes. So, the company wants to ensure that abandoned pieces of pipe do not somehow cause an injury.

He said the hydropower plant has not been usable since the fall storm. And, since it is due to be decommissioned in 2010, the company felt that it would not make good business sense to sink millions into repairs.

According to Kvamme, a United States Geological Survey gauge recorded the highest flows in the history of the project during the recent flooding. The swollen river nearly overtopped the railroad bridge just upstream from the Powerdale Powerhouse.

He said glacial sediment, mixed with rocks and woody debris, carved out a new discharge channel and cut off flows into the dam that were used to generate electricity.

In 2003, a settlement agreement was reached between PacifiCorp and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to shut the facility down.

The dam, constructed in late 1922 and early 1923, was no longer generating the revenue of larger structures, making its operation less cost-effective.

In addition, Kvamme said the aging plant required a multi-million dollar overhaul of its fish ladder and screens to better protect endangered salmon runs. These pending expenditures were coupled with the need to make other capital improvements to extend the dam’s predicted lifespan of 2018.

PacifiCorp plans to turn management of the land over to another agency. The company intends that it be managed to wildlife habitat and recreational uses.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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