PacifiCorp Safety Closures for October 26th

By Susan Hollingsworth

With the first breach of Condit Dam right around the corner and the White Salmon River anxiously waiting to burst free, excitement in the Columbia River Gorge couldn’t be higher.

However, not everyone is brimming with enthusiasm and ready to raise a toast during the big moment. PacifiCorp, the owner and operator of Condit Dam, has expressed concern that the big blast moment might have to be postponed.

That is, if any outsider decides to jeopardize the grand undertaking.

Released last week on October 20, 2011, PacifiCorp’s Safety Closures Near Condit Dam in South Central Washington outlines essential precautions they will be taking to maintain a proper time frame. These guidelines help ensure that no one will get hurt during the impressive feat scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th.

And let me just say, these are no meager precautions.

PacifiCorp plans to…Safety Closures during the Condit Dam blast on October 2th

  • Close Alternate Hwy 141 from Rt 14 to its juncture with Hwy 141
  • Contract air patrol to maintain surveillance above and below the dam site, after the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary fly restriction for all other aircrafts
  • Station patrols at all river access points along both east and west banks of the White Salmon River
  • Work with enforcement officers from the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to patrol the Columbia River at the two rivers’ confluence
  • Close off the area formerly known as Northwestern lake to all forms of water traffic
  • Help local landowners post signage to deter trespassing sightseers

Tom Hickey from PacifiCorp notes that these precautions are absolutely necessary due to the magnitude of the event. Essentially releasing a massive flood, the power company must be 110% sure that no one is in danger of getting hurt.

In order to alleviate the curious observers of this spectacular moment, PacifiCorp has contracted several film crews to record the moment of initial breach. This live video feed of Condit Dam’s removal will be broadcasted live for the world to see, allowing everyone to experience this historical moment in river restoration history.

The link to the live video feed can be found on our Condit Dam Breach page on October, 26th.

Please encourage friends to respect PacifiCorp’s safety considerations and not attempt to hike into the White Salmon River this Wednesday. Just one trespasser could mean the postponement of an event that hundreds of individuals have been waiting decades to see. (Not to mention getting some serious criminal charges pressed upon them.)

Author Susan Hollingsworth writes for Wet Planet Whitewater, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, American Whitewater, and any other river-related publication she can find.