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Making a move on the Big Creek Dams

Big Creek Dam
A disaster waiting to happen should if fail during a subduction zone earthquake.

The Newport City Council Monday night got an update on what will be the fate of the Big Creek Dam complex in the northeast part of town.  The double dam complex provides drinking water and outside irrigation for Newport.  But lately there’s been a raising of voices expressing fear that the dams have passed their ability to safely weather an earthquake…even a little one.

State engineers who monitor such “end of life” equipment said these dams are very old and should be replaced as soon as financially possible.  If either dam collapsed there would a great loss of life downstream, including the destruction of many homes.

City officials were told by state dam engineering experts that the  Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down making it logistically, if not financially, over-stretched.  They hinted that even if the economy recovered and the pandemic subsided it would still take years to remove the old dams and build one major, super strong reservoir to meet the needs of the Newport area.  So we’ll just have to see if the stars align in the sky along with big bulldozers on the ground to come up with a plan along with a carefully engineered system to build a new single dam to safely meet the water needs of the Central Coast.

The Port of Newport let a prosperous cat out of the bag this week revealing plans for a major construction push to put McLean Point even more on the map of Newport’s commercial growth.  The company that wants to make McLean Point a big shot in the arm promises a wide variety of industrial/manufacturing operations which should bring quite a growth surge for the region.  The Rondy’s development appears prepared to work both banks of the Yaquina River over a period of years.  The Port of Toledo has also been on a growth track with its new indoor ship overhaul and modifications operations.   Sounds like good paying jobs.

Rondy’s expansion will take a number of years.

 

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