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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow CITY SAYS NO TO ELECTRIC POWER AT BEAVER CREEK


By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

The La Grande City Council has decided not to pursue development of a hydroelectric project at the Beaver Creek watershed.

The watershed, 20 miles south of La Grande, could be a source of water for the city but has an antiquated pipeline from the site and there is little likelihood of it ever being used to supply water to city residents.

Since that is the case, it would not be profitable to install any type of equipment that would supply electricity to city residents.

A feasibility study by the engineering firms of Montgomery Watson Harza Engineers of the Tri-Cities and Anderson, Perry and Associates of La Grande, stated, by using baseline parameters for unit selection, construction costs and power values, it is not economically feasible to build a hydroelectric generation facility by itself. ... It may be economical to construct a hydroelectric generation facility if the city constructs a water treatment plant and all associated costs of the watershed and transmission line are borne by the water department.

The watershed has been a source of water for La Grande in the past, but the city now relies on wells.

City Manager Wes Hare told the council, There is no immediate need for Beaver Creek as a water source for the city. Well water is dramatically cheaper than what it would cost to get water from Beaver Creek. We could drill three wells for the same cost, based on what we paid to drill our last well.

Hare said in a report to the council, Prices for electricity appear to have stabilized, and even if they had not, the potential capacity of a Beaver Creek generator would be so small that it would not pay for itself.

He said several Oregon cities have looked at similar projects

and most have reached the same conclusion.

Another reason the city isnt likely to use Beaver Creek as a source is the condition of the pipeline, built between 1939 and 1949. Portions have deteriorated and there is minor leakage, according to the

city. Six intake structures are


While the council decided not to pursue the hydro power issue, councilor Doyle Slater said the city should look at it in another year.

Reach Ray Linker at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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