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Hole blasted in Condit Dam to restore endangered fish habitat


No doubt conservation groups and recreation enthusiasts are celebrating the removal of these antiquated dams.

AP and KGW report:

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Crews on Wednesday blasted a hole in a nearly century-old hydropower dam in Washington's south Cascades, marking another step in efforts to restore habitat for threatened and endangered fish in the Pacific Northwest.

The more than 12-story Condit Dam on the White Salmon River is the second-tallest dam to be demolished in U.S. history. Its two turbines produce about 14 megawatts of power, enough for 7,000 homes, but its owner, Portland-based utility PacifiCorp, elected to remove the dam rather than install cost-prohibitive fish passage structures that would have been required for relicensing.


Full story.

PacifiCorp via AP

A hole is breached in the century-old Condit Dam on the White Salmon River near White Salmon, Wash. Wednesday, Oct. 26. The 12-story dam is the second-tallest dam in U.S. history to be breached for fish passage, according to the advocacy group American Rivers.


Troy Wayrynen / The Columbian via AP

Attendees rejoice while watching a live video feed of the breaching of Condit Dam at Freeing the White Salmon River Celebration Wednesday October 26 in Husum, Washington. The celebration was part of events scheduled for the breaching of Condit Dam.

Steven Lane / The Columbian via AP

Davis Washines, Inter Tribal Fisheries Enforcement, is overcome by emotion as he watches a live video feed of the breaching of Condit Dam at an invite only event near the dam, Wednesday, Oct. 26 in White Salmon, Wash.

Steven Lane / The Columbian via AP

The White Salmon River cuts its new course through the sediment of Northwestern Lake after the breaching of Condit Dam, Wednesday, Oct. 26 near White Salmon, Wash.

Troy Wayrynen / The Columbian via AP

From left, Giani Benevento, Jonathan Blum, both Wet Planet river guides, and Temira Wagonfeld, dress up as salmon at the Freeing the White Salmon River Celebration Wednesday Oct. 26 in Husum, Wash. The celebration was part of events scheduled for the breaching of Condit Dam.




Discuss this post

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It's about dam time.


Sorry. It was too easy. =:D

  • 20 votes
#1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:51 AM EDT

Back in 1913, the time this dam was built, construction and utility lobbyists ruled DC. Politicians were keen on using tax dollars to subsidize "Public Work' constructions. Adverse environmental impacts were just a nuisance to the big construction and electricity companies. Dam the salmon. Full speed ahead.

In the late '60s, nuclear power constructors and utility companies had followed the same path, building nuke plants without adequately addressing environmental and human safety issues. In some cases, even construction issues were set aside in the name of "fast tracking" the project. Washington's WHOOPS and California's Diablo Canyon nuke facilities were classic examples of shabby construction and lax construction supervision.

In 1913 as well as late '60s, the voices of the little people were crushed. In 1913, Native American protestors whose lives depended on the salmon were ignored. The Nuke protestors who raised the inherent danger of nuclear power plants were either savagely beaten or jailed for exercising 1st Amendment by the local police.

In 2011, the Establishment has ignored the plight of the little people, dispathing the local policemen who brutally beat WallSt protestors or arrest them for exercising 1st Amendment. After 100 years, so little has changed.

  • 25 votes
#1.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:10 AM EDT

The times are a changin' though. This movement has been a long time coming and isn't going to go away no matter what the police do. That only serves to make the movement stronger. I'm going to join my friends in our local protest after seeing the Iraq veteran shot by Oakland police yesterday. This is the beginning of social revolution in this country and a rejection of the old failed policies, the greed and corruption that got us where we are today.

  • 26 votes
#1.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:46 AM EDT

The more than 12-story Condit Dam on the White Salmon River is the second-tallest dam to be demolished in U.S. history. Its two turbines produce about 14 megawatts of power, enough for 7,000 homes

I guess it's evironmentally friendly to now use nuclear and coal to power these 7,000 homes since this dam is gone........

  • 15 votes
#1.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:16 AM EDT

I'm just curious, but what the eff does dressing up like fish accomplish? Y'all know that other sentient life is watching our planet saying, 'what the f', right?

  • 4 votes
#1.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:28 AM EDT

Zafada - what the eff did the tea baggers dress up like revolutionaries and hang tea bags from their $2.99 straw hats mean? Get a grip!

  • 24 votes
#1.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:47 AM EDT

Mark VanGelder--Amen to that!!!!

  • 3 votes
#1.7 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:36 AM EDT

The leftist CHILDREN had virtually free power for 7,000 homes NO POLLUTION WHATSOEVER but squandered that resource, RAISING ELECTRICTY COSTS and INCREASING POLLUTION and DRIVING BUSINESSES AWAY to lower energy cost CHINA. What will power their Chevy Volts now, Coal?


Progressive democrats actually CELEBRATE their inexorable destruction of US manufacturing infrastructure bit by bit.

  • 14 votes
#1.9 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:17 AM EDT

What about all the nice cottages with the boat docks all around the reservoir? I'm surprised the cottage owners didn't pay for the fish passage structure. It could have gone right along the water conduit. I'm for keeping the dam.

  • 3 votes
#1.10 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:25 AM EDT

Exactly, are their 7,000 people now without power, nooooo, there are 7,000 more homes powered by coal plants. I recently took a 6,500 mile road trip across this great country of ours and I can tell you the mountains of coal ash are getting so big they dwarf the plants themselves.

  • 5 votes
#1.11 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:26 AM EDT

I guess what I'm saying is they should have forced the power company to just build the fish stairs and upgrade the dam.

  • 4 votes
#1.12 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:30 AM EDT

It was a happy moment, and I also had tearing streams down my face as I watched the salmon being released, kind of caught me off guard, but as a Native American, our culture reveres all animals, and we thank them every day for their sacrifice for sustaining us.

We now we the Keystone XL project that should never be approved. That would just be an accident waiting to happen. Some people just don't realize or don't want to realize what they are doing to Mother Earth. In my opinion, she is starting to protest also with all the earthquakes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, snowstorms, etc. My opinion only.

  • 1 vote
#1.13 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:41 AM EDT

" Bluelake

Mark VanGelder--Amen to that!!!! "

The two of you together don't have the brainpower of one single fish.

Your beloved "revolution" cannot possibly "solve" the problem of human greed. It can only replace the greedy in power with the greedy who lust for the power the others now have.

All you will ever get out of the exchange is some number of bullet holes, or a new way of life you would never in a million years choose for yourselves if you knew now how it will compare to what you already have.

You get the prize for stupidest posts on this page.

The old, deluded, greedy men behind revolutions have always depended on the shortsighted stupidities and ignorance of people like you to set things in motion that can only lead to a place that NOONE wants to go.

You won't get a single desirable thing out of the future you hope to see.

And if you knew the half of the meaning of "amen" and where it comes from
you couldn't possibly be as stupid as you clearly are.

Have a fine lonely death somewhere. Enjoy your ignorance of cholera and typhoid while you can.

  • 6 votes
#1.14 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:41 AM EDT

Oops, meant to say "tears streaming"

#1.15 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:45 AM EDT

I agree that its unfortunate that the dam couldn't just be fixed with the fish passage structures. For all the money the electric companies make off of us you'd think they'd have the funds to do that.

  • 1 vote
#1.16 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:47 AM EDT


You are simply not correct. In 1913, when the dam was built, the salmon fishery in the area was a major source of revenue and they people were very much aware of it. Everyone in the country was eating canned salmon, mostly from the Pacific Northwest. So the dam included 1913 state-of-the-art environmental provisions --- salmon ladders --- wooden structures like steps with water running down them. The salmon negotiated them with ease. But the salmon ladders were destroyed by storms twice, and never rebuilt after the second time because WWII was in full force and there were "other fish to fry."

Try reading the article --- the people who built the dam tried to be environmentally responsible.

  • 4 votes
#1.17 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:58 AM EDT

Our country is so full of morons that people celebrate a fish more than people. Our country is in decline and needs all the energy we can generate. Let's go blow up every single productive asset in this country and depend on the goodwill of others to save us.

  • 5 votes
#1.18 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:04 AM EDT

@ Madison from NY: If you lived here in the NW you would know that thousands of megawatts of wind power have been installed in eastern Oregon and Washington just in the last few years. This antique dam only produced 14 megawatts, a drop in the bucket. The lower Snake River wind project alone produces 343 megawatts. These farms produce construction and maintenance jobs that can't be outsourced, along with clean energy. I personally know the owner of a well drilling company that tripled his workforce to drill holes for the pilings to anchor wind towers.

  • 3 votes
#1.19 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:07 AM EDT

yup, and those will soon be removed too because they will find an obscure dead bat under one of the windmills and the environmentalist will be all up in arms about that. Oh, sorry, that was yesterdays news.

  • 3 votes
#1.20 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:38 AM EDT

Of all the different methods we use to generate electricity, hydroelectric is clearly the cleanest. It's ironic that these self proclaimed environmentalists are celebrating the destruction of this valuable asset. Seven thousand homes will now have to get their electricity from other sources. Someone pointed out the growing problems with coal ash. It's huge. If you have ever seen one of these piles they are immense. Wind and solar are fine, but they are a smaller drop in the bucket than some have called this dam. Wind farms are also killing a sizeable number of eagles.

So let's stop kidding ourselves pretending this is such a great thing. It wasn't.

  • 3 votes
#1.21 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:24 PM EDT

thats pretty screwed up to make this company take such a loss . obviously it was there berore

the problem with the fish existed

  • 4 votes
Reply#2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:55 AM EDT

Sorry what? You mean the dam evolved in this ecosystem before the salmon invaded the dam's natural habitat.

Whoa, wait - my bad. You probably don't believe in evolution

  • 43 votes
#2.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:02 AM EDT

Um, no. The company created the problem with the fish. It wasn't "there before" anything.

Besides that, maintaining a century-old dam, penstock, and power house gets to be an expensive proposition. I'll wager the power it was producing wasn't really enough to warrant the ongoing costs, anyway. It doesn't sound like the company fought to keep the facility going. They're the ones who produced the "this will be great for the salmon" video, after all.

  • 24 votes
#2.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:11 AM EDT

I live at White Salmon. The damn didn't have a fish ladder for the salmon to go up to the spawning grounds. The lake that backed up behind the damn was known as Northwestern Lake and the power company owns all the property around it. They lease the land to cabin owners. Now it is just a big area of muddy sediment. I don't even want to go see it. The Northwest Steelheaders were against removing the damn and mixing the native fish with the fish hatchery salmon. Of course, the Yakamas wanted the damn removed. So, it was a locally charged discussion over a couple years and finally Pacific Corp (former Northwestern Power) said they would be removing it.

  • 4 votes
#2.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:12 AM EDT

I'm confused. Is this their way of segueing into a nuclear plant? Are they using the fish as an excuse to get rid of a perfectly clean powered dam? This I'm afraid is what happens when our utilities become privately held. I read something a while ago about Koch brothers wanting to buy up a utility plant. There goes the neighborhood! Scarey what's happening in America today.......

  • 1 vote
#2.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:47 AM EDT

I can't believe what you just stated. For crying out loud, the "problem" with the fish? The fish migration existed zillions of years before any damn dam. Read much about nature? Or do you really believe the world came complete with steel and concrete?

  • 3 votes
#2.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:09 AM EDT

I'm going to assume the mrrogers-724977 comment was satire. It is too difficult to believe I live in a world in which people think man-made structures pre-date fish. Please tell me you were joking. Please. So I can sleep at night.

  • 2 votes
#2.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:37 AM EDT

"Obviously it was there before the problem with the fish existed" Is that obvious from the article? Definitely not the impression I got since...

1.Salmon swim upstream to spawn.

2. They can't exactly jump over a dam.

3. Put a dam in place, they can't reproduce.

4. Salmon population suffers.

  • 13 votes
Reply#3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:03 AM EDT

The fish in the northern part of the river were native. The fish in the lower 3 miles between the dam and the Columbia River were hatchery fish. In fact, there is a fish hatchery just west of the mouth of the White Salmon River.

#3.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:17 AM EDT

salmon are going to die off anyway because of ocean temperature changes, hydro-electric power is a clean cheap and renewable power source, that shouldn't be readily discarded because of a few fish, but they'll build a few coal power plants to replace this, then see how the envirmental idiots like that.

  • 3 votes
#3.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:41 AM EDT

I still don't get it. This dam had been there and the fish had been there for YEARS. It became huge problem.....when?

  • 2 votes
#3.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:50 AM EDT

Just curious, salmon return to their home stream to spawn and the dam has been there for over 100 years, that means there haven't been any salmon hatched in Northwestern Lake for 100 years. How will the salmon know the dam has been removed?

  • 2 votes
#3.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:29 AM EDT

Simple. Salmon hatchlings are placed in appropriate locations upriver. When they mature, that's where they'll return to spawn.

  • 8 votes
#3.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:55 AM EDT

"3. Put a dam in place, they can't reproduce.

4. Salmon population suffers."


Something in math here just does not equate.

Are you saying that a species that can't reproduce only SUFFERS in numbers, and doesn't cease to exist?

This is amazing news people, I think we are on to something!!!!! If we can figure out how this happens, we could save every single species ever, no matter what happens!

.....or ahhh....

Maybe species adapt......hence this whole evolution process. For a species to adapt, they need to be pressured into it, or they will keep existing as they are. The population is LESS not NONE.

But go ahead and pressure your society into coal and nuclear power plants. You won't be ruining the world for my children, they're not good enough for this world. Thanks ya'll.

  • 1 vote
#3.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:30 AM EDT

I checked to see if Gary and the guy who posted that the dam was there before the fish were the same guy going on the principle that the likelihood there would be two people that dumb posting on the same board was small. Once again, I've over estimated the human race.

  • 2 votes
#3.7 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:04 AM EDT

As I posted above it would take hundreds of these dams wiping out all the salmon runs to produce the electricity generated by the wind farms installed in the area in the last few years. This was a win win for everyone involved. Clean energy, no coal, natural salmon runs restored, no having to eat fish imported from China or wherever. Me, I like fresh, natural salmon.

  • 2 votes
#3.8 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:31 AM EDT

Want more BOOM! This one just looked like a controlled musdslide. Very disappointing.

  • 8 votes
Reply#4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:04 AM EDT

"Obviously it was there before the problem with the fish existed" Is that obvious from the article? Definitely not the impression I got since...

1.Salmon swim upstream to spawn.

2. They can't exactly jump over a dam.

3. Put a dam in place, they can't reproduce.

4. Salmon population suffers.

  • 5 votes
Reply#5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:05 AM EDT

Simplified answer to obvious issues but still does not answer pretty darn good question from #3.4........So what is your answer to Sgt Stryker?

#5.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:46 AM EDT

Gorgegirl knows what she is talking about. I was raised in her neck of the woods. When these dams were first built it had a major effect on the salmon run/population. A lot of retro-fitting has been done since then (fish ladders) and the salmon populations to those rivers have returned. It's in the salmons DNA.

I feel sorry for the people who now reside next to a mudhole (formerly known as Northwest Lake).

IMO the dam should have been retro-fitted like the rest. The only real winners here are the salmon and the environmentalists.

And mine you, that is only my opinion.

#5.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:39 AM EDT

Mud tends to dry when there's no water flowing over it. That will be some of the most fertile ground and rest assured vegetation will return. That mudhole will be some beautiful property.

  • 1 vote
#5.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:54 PM EDT

And mine* you, that is only my opinion.


I know that bbgun. I currently live on a beautiful piece of lakefront property here and I sure would be pissed if that happened to me. Would just have to sell my big boat and buy a smaller one I guess.

This situation has a double edge to it. In the end nature wins.......for now.

#5.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:18 PM EDT

thats pretty screwed up to make this company take such a loss . obviously it was there berore

the problem with the fish existed

  • 3 votes
Reply#6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:05 AM EDT

Or, you might also figure that the dam itself cut off the spawning grounds of the salmon by not having a way for the fish to go around it like at the Bonneville Dam.

#6.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:19 AM EDT

"Amy Kober, spokeswoman for advocacy group American Rivers. "We're not just talking about restoring vital fish runs in the region but improving a nationally renowned whitewater area."

obviously shes not worried about the cost to pacificorp who either had to remove the dam or

replace fish ladders which its had to do twice already at a cost of 100 million dollars

or the lost revenue and generating capacity to the company

  • 1 vote
#7 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:07 AM EDT

Welcome to the realm of public goods, Mr. Rogers. No company has the right to @!$%# them up while the rest of us pay the costs for them. If your company isn't prepared to pay the full price of operating, then they have no business being there in the first place.

  • 23 votes
#7.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:16 AM EDT

Burnt Toast, they the had the right to "@!$%# it up" over 100 years ago when the dam was first installed.

We're you there protesting it's being built?

Naw, I thought not...

  • 2 votes
#7.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:22 AM EDT

I don't think that PacifiCorp is that upset considering the headline on their website.


It's great PR for them and every utility company knows they have a lease on their dam which eventually expires. They sign a contract agreement to operate and profit from the dam. Usually at the expiration if they don't have fish passage they need to add it or dismantle the dam as part of a new contract agreement.

There is a different mindset out here in the Northwest. The environment isn't just a touchy feely thing, it's recreation and employment for a lot of people. Conservative hunters and fisherman care if they don't have anything to hunt or fish. Removing the Condit Dam is good news for fish and fisherman alike. Now if we can remove the 4 dams on the lower Snake River we might really start to see fish return in big numbers to the area.

  • 8 votes
#7.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:51 AM EDT

We waste so much in energy resources in this country, for example, right now we burn off enough natural gas off of oil wells because the oil is worth more than the natural gas, which itself could fuel 5 million homes a year if I remember right.

Is there any transparent regulation in that?

  • 5 votes
#7.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:53 AM EDT

Performance... I wasn't even born 100 years ago. There are only a handful of people alive who were, and they were infants at the time.

  • 3 votes
#7.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:58 AM EDT

Performance... I wasn't even born 100 years ago. There are only a handful of people alive who were, and they were infants at the time.

So what are you to talk then?

  • 2 votes
#7.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:03 AM EDT

Because I'm a citizen of this fine country we live in, Performance.

  • 8 votes
#7.7 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:30 AM EDT

Just because something's been the standard for centuries, you can't mess with it?

Did you know that Charlemagne ordered that his table cloths be made of asbestos? Since he was in power approximately 1200 years prior to the realization that asbestos causes particularly nasty cancers, we should just have allowed asbestos to continue to be used? After all, it was the cheapest solution to the 'problem' to have been found when it was found. And it was a good insulator, too.

How about lead in gasoline and paints? Used for decades or centuries, but found to be unsafe. We should have just allowed it to continue to be used as before? After all, it was the cheapest solution to the 'problem' to have been found when it was found.

  • 9 votes
#7.8 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:51 AM EDT

Because I'm a citizen of this fine country we live in, Performance.

And? Are we supposed to do a little dance around that or what...

Ya know it's easy for you to sit up there on your fat ass in 2011 and say "No company has the right to @!$%# them up while the rest of us pay the costs for them", but you do realize that dam's been there for almost 100 years, don't you? That it's been there long before the Save the Fishies movement brought attention to it.

And "we're" gonna be paying for those 7,000 home's electrical power some other way, so don't talk about @!$%#ing things up. The electrical company didn't @!$%# anything up. They were doing their job like they we're supposed to.

And now that job's done. Time for them to move on.

  • 2 votes
#7.9 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:02 AM EDT

Just a question what happens if the salmon don't come back or only a few? Who knows how many? I see no information on that. 7000 homes times 365 days =2,555,000 home electrical days at what cost in coal, oil or gas?

Who is going to fish these salmon and what benefit are they going to get out of it? Another dumb question why couldn't the fish spawn in the water in front of the dam? Why did they have to go behind it? Are the fish living behind the dam for the last 100 years going to know to swim to the ocean and come back to that area behind the dam?

Lots of questions, I didn't see any answers for except a lot of coal, oil or gas has to be used to replace that dam and those stupid regulators just fuc* up everything when they don't have to pay for it.

For an average home and 7000 average homes the cost of the coal alone to produce that amount of electricity per year is almost 7 million dollars. Hydropower electricity costs 40% of electricity produced by coal. So these 7000 residents can expect to pay 2 1/2 times more for their electricity.

You still sure this was a good idea?

  • 7 votes
#7.10 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:45 AM EDT

Jacksonal - as to your question of who will benefit from this salmon - you and I a great source of Vitamin D - obviously your McDonald's awaits you

  • 4 votes
#7.11 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:53 AM EDT

Wow, you are more worried about a inanimate object/artificial construct called a "corporation" than you are bout living things, like say humans. Sad, very sad.

  • 1 vote
#7.12 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:54 AM EDT

Jacksonal - as to your question of who will benefit from this salmon - you and I a great source of Vitamin D - obviously your McDonald's awaits you


That is the funniest post in this thread. I had to laugh at that. :D

Of course you still can't really answer Jacksonal but hey, you're funny.

more LOL...


  • 2 votes
#7.13 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:21 AM EDT

I wonder how the environmentalist would like setting around in the dark and cooking over a fire, oops that would be polluting the air wouldn't it? I guess we would all starve to death in the dark.

  • 1 vote
#7.14 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:25 AM EDT

Mike christian - according to the conservative wing of the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote corporations are people too. So you are not correct.

#7.15 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:46 AM EDT

Our grandchildren are going to look at the images of these stooges dressed up as fish and wonder how we could be this stupid and make it through the day without harming ourselves and others.

Save the fish, screw the humans. I think I would be weeping too.

  • 2 votes
Reply#8 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:08 AM EDT

Unless you stop salmon poaching restoring the salmon 'run' will be a non-event. To be fair, these fish ladders do not work dreadfully well going "up" and the fry have real problems when they head downstream. I hope that the ecology nazis like freezing in the dark.

  • 1 vote
#8.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:48 AM EDT

I'm sure they'll do just fine without the dam or your "wisdom."

  • 7 votes
#8.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:35 AM EDT

'orb' ?

Fish ladders are not needed on an undammed river.

  • 4 votes
#8.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:54 AM EDT

they could just use the wind farms for electricity, oh but wait they were forced offline due to too much power being added to the grid. messed up the coal producing company's profits. besides all those coastal towns that relied on commercial and tourist fishing don't need help improving the numbers of salmon or any onther fish, they won't be able to survive all the pollution dumped into the water anyway, unless pollution is just a myth, like global warming.

#8.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:50 AM EDT

The only "one's" being screwed are Pacific Corp., a "corporation", a legal term term, not a actual live being. Corporations first, people...

#8.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:58 AM EDT

New technologies will be the future for energy. Bad timing to blow up a dam.

Salmon are beginning to run up river to spawn.

  • 1 vote
#8.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:32 AM EDT

I hope that the ecology nazis like freezing in the dark.

Humans have survived for hundreds of thousands of years without electricity. Just saying. Its called, Fire.

#8.7 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:13 AM EDT

Just saying. Its called, Fire.

Yes, that's exactly it. Let's have everybody on Earth who lives in a cold climate just have a fire to keep them warm, deforestation, increased carbon emissions, and other environmental effects be damned.

#8.8 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:53 AM EDT

We are part of the eco system. There were and are plenty of work arounds. Now we have to polute the area with oil burning plants and support terorism. You know Obama's brothers the "muslim hood".

  • 1 vote
Reply#9 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:13 AM EDT

Yeah, all those Hellfire missiles are like their secret handshake...

  • 10 votes
#9.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:17 AM EDT

They knock down a 100 year old obsolete dam and it devolves into

Obama's brothers the "muslim hood".

The guys in the rubber fish suits look like genius in comparison.

  • 27 votes
Reply#10 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:35 AM EDT

Hey! Good deal there!! Get rid of an obsolete power generator and INCREASE the Salmon run at the same time. A WIN WIN SITUATION!! I'm sure there are more around.

  • 8 votes
Reply#11 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:42 AM EDT

I don't know, I was hoping for a bigger explosion.

  • 4 votes
#11.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:48 AM EDT

Destroy more public property and throw in more waste in the atmosphere, isn't enough for you?

Canada gets 80% of its electricity from hydro. Too many regulations and rules to up the cost to the homeowners and business. Just take a couple of hundred more jobs and ship them to China. Toasty will show the way.

  • 2 votes
#11.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:08 AM EDT

Jacksonal, you don't know "jack".

  • 1 vote
#11.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:00 AM EDT

Destroy more public property and throw in more waste in the atmosphere, isn't enough for you?

The dam was privately owned...


#11.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:14 AM EDT

Still not as powerful as the desert tortise in the Las Veags area which has stop muti million and billion dollor projects.

Reply#12 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:43 AM EDT

Last I checked there was plenty of sprawl there to tide the area over for a while, particularly given their water situation.

  • 6 votes
#12.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:37 AM EDT

MMMMM...Nothing like some wild salmon!!!

  • 2 votes
Reply#13 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:45 AM EDT

"Save the fish, screw the humans. I think I would be weeping too."


There is no reason (save political ideology) that we can't save both.

  • 4 votes
Reply#14 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:46 AM EDT

It was a power company that made the decision to do it. That's not a political ideology, but a business decision. There is a difference.

  • 4 votes
#14.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:03 AM EDT

A business decision not to spend more money that it makes due to a NEW gov regulation. But don't worry, your gov officials have a financial interest in the other gas/oil fired electric generation plants.

You see there is always a winner and a loser. This time the Gov chose who wins and loses.

  • 2 votes
#14.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:38 AM EDT

The guy who was weeping in the picture is a Yakama Indian whose grandfather use to fish the White Salmon and is buried near Husum along with others in his family. It was an emotional event for him. The Yakamas do fish below the damn now. the upper part of the river is popular for river rafting.

  • 8 votes
#14.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:46 AM EDT

One day the greenies are for renewable energy and the next day they are celebrating the destruction of green energy. You dolts can't have it both ways. 7,000 homes have lost their clean energy source. Dress up in a fish suit and do a happy dance if you want. You only make fools of yourselves.

  • 6 votes
Reply#15 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 AM EDT

There's nothing "green" about a dam. It may not emit CO2 or other pollutants, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come with environmental costs.

  • 10 votes
#15.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:09 AM EDT

Wind mills/turbines create noise pollution, kill birds, insects, etc.

There is no such thing as a clean or 'green' energy source.


  • 5 votes
#15.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:40 AM EDT

For it's power output compared to its footprint, it was awfully far from green. It may take a river a while to recover from it having been there, but the alternative would be to gut it and put in some more productive generation capacity. With that river's small size letting nature take that run back is probably for the better

  • 6 votes
#15.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:52 AM EDT

The damn was built a hundred years ago. Trains were run on steam power, most homes did not have indoor plumbing, electricity was for the rich. Some people on this blog do not understand that there have been huge technological advancements since the building of this structure.

Hydro power and damn building have come a long way in 100 years. So have the advancements in providing fish a route upstream.

  • 3 votes
#15.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:44 AM EDT

Hydro power beats coal, nuclear and other air polluting plants. Take your pick Global warming or salmon or lets just have a few more wars to reduce the human population so we do not need so much electricity.

  • 3 votes
Reply#16 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:53 AM EDT

Get a life. Didn't you read the entire article? Why do you think they had to replace the power plant with some other power plant? The amount of electrical power it produced was a nit compared to the benefit of preserving the salmon population. And, you better hope that nuclear power plants don't pollute the air!


  • 8 votes
#16.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:14 AM EDT

The power from Condit did come in handy on a few occasions, but we do get our power just a short distance away because our area is situated between two big hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River - the Bonneville and The Dalles dams.

  • 7 votes
#16.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:26 AM EDT

Fantastic idea!

Lets demolish a source of clean, renewable, domestic energy because of some fish! It's not like energy prices are stratospheric and there's an economic crisis or anything.

What we really need is to make energy as scarce and expensive as possible. Who cares about the economy, when a few fish need to lay eggs in a stream somewhere. Salmon breeding is what Americans are really worried about these days.

  • 3 votes
Reply#17 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:57 AM EDT

It's like you didn't even read the article.


  • 10 votes
#17.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:39 AM EDT

Business decision? Oh really?

Well lets just examine this 'business decision', shall we? The utility company had the option to either spend millions of dollars (that it doesn't have) to build 'fish passage structures', or to demolish the dam. Hm.

That doesn't sound like any kind of business decision I've ever heard of; it sounds like coercion to me. There was no 'choice'. The utility company had no option to leave the plant status-quo. They were told that they had to accommodate the fish, period. Either by shutting down or spending money. The fish were more important than the power plant.

So yes, any way you slice this, it amounts to the rights of a few fish being placed above the needs of humans. Environmentalists once again chose to weaken our economy and our security by closing down a source of clean, renewable, domestic energy, because some salmon needed to lay their eggs.

Congratulations. A giant step backwards.

  • 6 votes
#17.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:33 AM EDT

tjp77, How does your model T run? Do you enjoy shoveling coal into your furnace all winter long? How often do you have to dig a new hole for your outhouse? These are the issues people were dealing with at the time this antique damn was built.

  • 2 votes
#17.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:09 AM EDT

TP you apparently didn't read the article. This dam was 100 years old. You obviously don't understand the costs of keeping up a structure that old. Even without the fish structure they might have demoed it. And also you apparently don't understand how eco systems work. If we keep destroying the habitats of "less important animals" such as "a few fish" what the hell do you think we are going to eat 100 years from now?

Read a book, learn something. Get your head out of "I'm above the environment" BS propaganda.

#17.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:19 AM EDT

Oh so now it's because the dam was old? Well, the Hoover Dam is almost 100 years old too; I guess we should be looking to demolish that one pretty soon also. Just think of all the fish!

Fact is that this country still gets a LOT of it's electricity from smaller, decentralized power facilities, and the more we take them offline, the more fragile and expensive we make our overall power grid. Demolishing a dam that is still structurally sound makes zero sense. We should be looking to make capital improvements to them, not excuses for getting rid of them.

As for the ecosystem comment... please. Learn the difference between the fish we actually eat, and the fish that this dam is trying to rescue.

  • 3 votes
#17.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:32 PM EDT

TP, again with your lack of reading the article.

Oh so now it's because the dam was old?

There can be MORE than one reason for demolishing a dam, wow, amazing I know.

Demolishing a dam that is still structurally sound makes zero sense.

I don't recall the article saying it was structurally sound.

As for the ecosystem comment... please. Learn the difference between the fish we actually eat, and the fish that this dam is trying to rescue.

I do understand that the fist we eat aren't the ones from that river. I'm not stupid. What you dont seem to understand is that if we destroy the eco system of one animal that it cascades through the whole food web, and up to us. Keep destroying habitats and there wont be very many animals left.

#17.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:58 PM EDT

Facts are if you eat the salmon you run the real risk of mercury poisoning.

  • 2 votes
Reply#18 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:05 AM EDT

Bored - Facts are if you eat farmed fish - you are eating fish and shrimp that are being polluted by their own feces, while wild salmon are clean and not contaminated but are a healthy source of food - where are you from that you don't know this?

  • 3 votes
#18.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:59 AM EDT

While true that some salmon test lower then larger fish, there are still significant levels. Pregnant women should avoid ANY fish while an adult might eat one meal a week. Of course this testing was done by the government under the watchful eye of the industry ten years ago. Me, I'll stick with flax seed.


The truth is Barb, Instead of destroying a source of CLEAN energy, these folks watching the dam being destroyed might have put that effort in stopping the pollution from coal and oil fired power stations, which directly poison the fish they are trying to save. And that matters wherever you are from.

Its ironic that there will be more pollution and poisoned fish in the seas and less clean energy due to the acts of a few ? (environmentalists?)


  • 1 vote
#18.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:34 PM EDT

The sediment in the water will half the fish. The loss of power for 7000 homes will require new oil, gas or coal fired plants to burn more fuel. The economy that was built around the lake because of the dam is destroyed.

Good news, I bought land along the new rivers path, from your elected officials.

Reply#19 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:35 AM EDT

The turbidity of the water is a temporary condition that will suss itself out partly by flushing out downstream, and partly as vegetation stabilizes the sediment on the banks where it lies. And they traded lake recreation for more comprehensive river recreation and the dollars that will bring. Big deal.

  • 6 votes
#19.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:42 AM EDT

In this world of trying to go electric they distroy what makes electric without air polution and for who? the Indians have been fishing the columbia and they get ALL the fish they want white man and black man don't get that right, so how much have they gained? well let see they don't have to go to the columbia to fish the fish will swim up to them! That's it! Sorry to say the indians have been getting ALL the rights that others don't , is this not discrimination? It's time for those who live in this country to be treated the same no matter your skin color. I can't catch as many fish as I want and sell to big restaurants, I can't build a casino and have people spend their money there, the only people who get more than them are the politicians, WHEN WILL EQUALITY COME TO AMERICA?

Reply#20 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:42 AM EDT

god yes when will the plight of the white male end!? WHEN!?

  • 9 votes
#20.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:43 AM EDT

At the time the Constitution was ratified many of the indians had independent sovereignty. They still have it on their reservations. If you want to insist they have no rights to the Columbia River salmon, well the Chinookan Indians who the "white settlers" called the Cascade Indians lived at Cascade Rapids until 1850s when they were forceably removed to Warm Springs reservation. So they are entitled by the fact it is their land in reality. Many of the other local tribes went to the Columbia every year for fishing season as it was part of their culture and heritage for possibly 10,000 years. Deal with it.

  • 8 votes
#20.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:40 AM EDT

Ummm Dave? WHAT SORT of equality were the *Indians* given, when Europeans over ran all the Tribes? You can't live without giving them their fish back? The Tribes with Casinos pay taxes the same as YOU do! Plus, they work with many community programs. YOU live on a Rez for awhile and see how much more fish mean to you, eh? :-(

  • 10 votes
#20.3 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:53 AM EDT

Look, basically the natives were conquered. it has happened many times in the history of the world. Regardless of past abuses, we need to look at everything from the standpoint of what is better for all. The reservation system needs to end, period. They all are either Americans or not, not just Native-Americans. We need to stop the hyphenated American crap. If you think having casinoes everywhere is a good thing, you are crazy. They are a detriment to every area where they exist. It was much better when gambling was limited to a few areas of the country. If we continue with the, well we treated them bad mantra, where does it end. Why don't we go back and give every family that is descended from a slave their 40 acres and a mule. The Spaniards, through various reasons, killed millions of Natives, so we should demand Spain pay reparations. The Mongols caused untold destruction across Asia and Europe, demand they pay everyone effected. Islam exploded out of the Arabia killing hundreds of thousands and forcing conversion to Islam, they should just start giving oil away to countries effected.

I think you get the point. We cannot go back and rectified every past mistake, but we must move forward as a whole.

#20.4 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:50 AM EDT

The native people have been living in that region in excess of 20K yrs.. the ecological knowlege they possess on that habitat helped them t0 live there in relative harmony for the time prior the Euro. invasion; and subsquent paroles now being debated. As for the dcrimination issue and the natives getting all the rights, well, why is it the the Native Amricans were and are placed on resevations? Could it be for the systematic attack on those people whom the difficult to justify the further genocide being perpetrated upon them. If these people ahve so many rights why pray tell they are the only race in this country that has a govermental agency dedicated to their regulation? Why are they the only race that carries a I.D. card identifing them as being of thqat race

Life is a trade off of off setting consequinces, there is no getting around that. But I'm quite sure there poiwer in they locale hydro-system to cover the small loss of such facility so antiquated. But iof the loss is so much of aburden on the existing power grid the DOE would have stopped the project. Sometimes in order for things to go forward you must step a little bit back, and correct some old mistakes and allow for the growth of new solutions.

#20.5 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:32 AM EDT

Actually woolly mammoths outdate Indians. Perhaps a sanctuary?

So lets start a new movement, "return Europe to the cro-magnom's because they where there long before Homo sapiens.

Perhaps we should force all humans from Africa, (remember Lucy?) Monkeys only!

Or we could live in the now and make decisions that work for all.

  • 1 vote
#20.6 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:51 PM EDT

You can't blame the fish count on the dams, the trouble with the declining fish runs are gill netting, pouchers, polution, and why don't they look at HANFORD NUCULAR PLANT in washington right on the columbia river, OH YEH! according to the feds it's OK and doe's not pollute, BULL! if you beleave that then I have a bridge you can buy! Politicians don't know a dam thing about the real world all they know is how to talk you out of your money for their campain runs. The fish was running good for years but what do you see in the ocean? large CHINESE fish caneries and they are taking everything they can catch and to hell with the rest of the world, TIME TO PUT A 200 MILE LIMIT OFF OF OUR COASTLINES!!!!

Reply#21 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:54 AM EDT

We (and every other country in the world) have had a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (limit) around the United States since 1982, where have you been?

  • 2 votes
#21.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:58 AM EDT

It is kind of a mixed feeling I have while watching the videos of this. On one hand it is impressive how a structure such as this dam was constructed a century ago and how it has stood the test of time. However, it is also a reminder that sometimes we create such large projects to harness nature with good intentions without fully understanding the consequences. For many centuries before the damn was built, the native salmon used that river as their spawning grounds. Early tribal Americans managed this great resource to provide food for their people, but understood the importance of preserving it too.

Apparently this dam had tried to put in fish ladders through the years but they failed. The power company decided that the expense required to allow the fish to pass through the damn, was more than they wanted to spend to save this aging structure. In the long run, it should actually be a very good thing for the region removing this and a few other old dams in the Northwest region. I'm sure that some may see the destruction of this dam for the benefit of some fish, as a misguided "tree hugger" mentality at work. But for as much as I have an appreciation for feats of engineering and the capability we as human beings have for "mastering" nature, I also have a greater appreciation for the nature and all the subtleties of natural engineering. When you think about how long it took for the salmon species to evolve and utilize the natural features of this river and how everything worked in harmony for thousands of years, for the most part unnoticed or completely understood by man, it gives you a different perspective on some of mankind's "great achievements".

Of course, the power company made this move primarily based on the economics of it. I think it is noteworthy that without that economic incentive and the regulation that created the situation, these kinds of things wouldn't happen. I suppose this is a good example of what deregulation arguments are all about. Without regulations, nature and the environment take a backseat to more economically driven incentives. Another less obvious impact is that it also provides an incentive to replace some very old equipment. Ideally, this gets replaced with newer, more efficient and hopefully environmentally friendly technology.

The engineer in me is somewhat sad to see this rather old tribute to technology go, but the environmentalist in me can see the positives in returning this river back to nature. Pretty impressive too, to see the amazing power of the released water through the hole.

  • 6 votes
Reply#22 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:56 AM EDT

1Newday, you are very well spoken. Thank you. :)

  • 2 votes
#22.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:11 AM EDT

1newday---you are a voice of reason ---need more people with your ability to see both sides and come to a logical conclusion.

  • 2 votes
#22.2 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:59 AM EDT

The northwest has always had plenty of electric power. Especially after the rediculous nuclear plants were built. Some of the nuclear was stopped in construction stage years ago and they threatened massive rate hikes, these occurred more later, cause they, (government) forced us in recent years to pay the same rate as the electric could be sold elesewhere like California for more. This was based on the decisions of who built the larger Columbia River dams. Even the Portland GeneralElectric fought the government on this one.

One nuclear plant, Trojan was decomissioned. Agian too much cost to modify all lot of piping that wasn't up to current code. It also had a containment pond on the edge of the Columbia River and the last giant quake here was in 1700. We are about due for more activity in the southern section of this subduction zone, which occurs every 250 years or so. The Cascadia Quake ruptured all along the subduction zone and was a 9.0 much like the Japanese recently had and occurs every 500 years or so.

What we also have is plenty of wind. The Columbia River Gorge has more potential than dams and wind surfing. It acts as a giant funnel and the number of wind turbines east of the crest has been dramatically increasing. No one wants these in the scenic gorge itself. Perhaps sight pollution will also be an issue one day, but for the present one small dam really does little to impact our electric here.

  • 3 votes
Reply#23 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:18 AM EDT

The same people who complained about the fish will complain about the birds if wind turbines are constructed. I care about both, but sometimes there are no perfect answers and we have to just choose the best alternative. That best alternative for energy might very well have been the dam that has been destroyed.

  • 1 vote
#23.1 - Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:02 AM EDT


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