From the Oregonian: With 700 pounds of dynamite, PacifiCorp contractors blasted a hole in the Condit Dam. It will allow the last of Northwestern Lake to empty and begin the dam’s demise.
After two decades of controversy, Condit is the latest and, at 125 feet tall, among the biggest U.S. hydroelectric dams to fall. PacifiCorp concluded that upgrading Condit for fish passage would cost roughly three times more than the $35 million to take it down.
In the Northwest, it follows the breaching of Marmot Dam on the Sandy River, Powerdale Dam on the Hood River and four dams in the Rogue River basin. Removal of two dams on the Elwha River in Washington’s Olympic National Park — the largest dam demolition to date — started in September.
Condit’s fall will unleash one of the Northwest’s cleanest and wildest rivers, originating from glaciers on Mount Adams. The White Salmon is a one-hour drive east from Portland, a magnet for kayakers and rafters, and a potential haven for wild salmon that have teetered on the edge of extinction for nearly a century.