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Economic and dam related articles

Economic Impact of an
Emergency Dam Shut Down

by Lauren Kahl1,
KLEW, September 12, 2019

Wanda Keefer says, there are 1,100 boats for recreation that cannot pass through the dam.

LEWIS CLARK VALLEY -- The Portland District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did an emergency shut down of Bonneville Dams gate last Thursday.

The closure of Bonneville Dam, which is about 300 miles west of the LC Valley means barges can't go through the dam.

Cruise boats which come into the Port of Clarkston and barges carrying wheat, wood and other goods that come into the Ports of Wilma and Lewiston are impeded from traveling on the river.

But the Bonneville Dam must be fixed. Officials plan to have it up and running by September 30, 2019.

The navigation lock was closed last Thursday after operators detected problems. Further investigation revealed cracked concrete.

But this closure comes when cruise ships should be coming into the Port of Clarkston.

Officials say, it's an estimated $500,000 loss from not having that boost to our local economy from tourists.

"September is our concentrated month. we have more boats coming up. than we ever have any other month of the year." Port of Clarkston, Manager Wanda Keefer said.

She says, there are also 1,100 boats for recreation that cannot pass through the dam.

Over at the Port of Lewiston, they are still figuring out their financial concerns.

Port of Lewiston, Manager David Doeringsfeld explains, Clear Water Paper is currently under maintenance. When the mill is up and running, it will need to move wood chips and saw dust for their paper. He says, the real issue is for wheat farmers as this closure comes during the wheat harvest.

“Lewis--Clark Terminal will be at capacity sometime next week so that has implications to the farmers out there what are we going to do with our grain storage or what are we going to do with our garbs here when they start to harvest." Doeringsfeld said

He says, this could have been much worse if this closure happened earlier in the year.

However, he is still concerned because 40 percent of the Ports of Oregon and Washington State wheat supply is from Lewiston.

He believes, October is going to be a busy month on the river system with everyone wanting to get back on course with shipments.

Keefer says, this closure should demonstrate just how important our river system is to our local economy.

Lauren Kahl
Economic Impact of an Emergency Dam Shut Down
KLEW, September 12, 2019

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