Canyon upstream and downstream of dam unsafe as channel shifts, logjams form and break up
WHITE SALMON, Wash. — Following the breach of Condit Dam that quickly drained Northwestern Lake, the White Salmon River remains an unsafe place to be both above and below the dam. PacifiCorp, local law enforcement and experienced river experts are unanimous in urging the curious to stay away.
"Everyone saw the force of the river last Wednesday," said Tom Hickey, PacifiCorp's project manager. "Now downstream wherever the river narrows, there are logjams. In the former reservoir above the dam, the river is cutting through the sediment creating unstable slopes and moving debris such as buried logs as expected. Transported sediment is also building up in downstream areas. Working with our contractors, we have plans in place to deal with these obstructions, and they all require that everyone stay out of harm’s way and a safe distance from the river."
The company's options for clearing debris include using cranes and yarders or in some instances explosives to remove barriers. The entire area from the Northwestern Lake Road Bridge to the mouth of the White Salmon River continues to be an active construction zone and a dangerous place to be.
"We are still a long way from anyone attempting to boat the White Salmon River within the project area or downstream," said Thomas O'Keefe, Pacific Northwest stewardship director of American Whitewater. "Those of us who know the river well urge everyone to stay safe and out of this river area until next fall when PacifiCorp has had a chance to complete the channel restoration work and address the severe hazards affecting navigability."
PacifiCorp will continue to post updates on closures and restrictions in the Condit area as work proceeds. Go to www.pacificorp.com/condit for updates. Signs will remain posted in the immediate areas to remind the public about the closures.