Powerdale in-water work underway

Crews have limited time to complete Powerdale Dam decomissioning project

The in-water work period for the decommissioning of Powerdale Dam started on July 1, and crews are wasting no time taking out the 1923-built concrete diversion dam. With a window of now until Aug. 31 to work in the river, crews are moving as quickly as possible to isolate the dam from the river, pound it out with hydraulic hammers, remove many tons of material and restore the river to a natural grade.

This week workers from Weekly Bros. Inc. — the prime contractor PacifiCorp chose for the roughly $2.4 million project – were busy creating side canals to reroute the Hood River around the 200-foot-long dam. On the west side of the river, the steel flume that once channeled water into the dam’s pipeline was moved into place and is now being utilized to divert about half the river’s flow around the large pool just below the dam. On the east side, workers are removing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife facility that was used to trap, count and regulate fish passing upstream. Soon in its place will be a second diversion for the remainder of the river to flow around.

Above and below the dam, temporary cofferdams will be used to cut it off from the flow of the river. Crews will then go to work on the concrete structure with hydraulic hammers and heavy equipment. No explosives will be used in the project. They will bury much of the concrete and will eventually remove the cofferdams and work to reestablish the area to as close of a natural set of rapids as they can.

Fish passage during the project has been routed to the dam’s old fish ladder, which was blocked off after the ODFW facility was built in the late 1990s. A project manager explained that once the center of the dam is removed and the river can flow through, fish will have free-flowing passage up and downstream for the remainder of the project.

Public access to the dam site and to the lower Powerdale substation site just outside of downtown Hood River has been restricted for several months now. Although the river is still open (excluding a buffer up and down stream from projects), access via the two popular parking areas is closed for the duration of the project.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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