• National Trust Comments on the Willamette Falls Locks Preliminary Draft Disposition Study

    November 30, 2017

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a draft Disposition Study (Willamette Falls Locks, Willamette River, Oregon, Section 216 Preliminary Draft Disposition Study with Integrated Environmental Assessment.)

    In early July, the National Trust provided comments to the Corps, stating our support for the selection of a Study alternative (Alternative 3) that would transfer of the facility to a new owner. We made it clear that we do not support the transfer of the Locks in a non-operational state, but instead it is imperative that the Army Corps transfer the Locks in working condition. See attached NTHP letter.

  • Join us at the Willamette Falls Locks May 14!

    May 6, 2016

    Spring has sprung in Oregon and the National Trust is joining with the One Willamette River Coalition to sponsor a work day at the Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks! We’ll mow grass, pull weeds, remove invasive plants, clean gutters, and generally spruce up the park adjacent to the Locks.

    What: Willamette Falls Locks Clean-up Work Party

    When: Saturday, May 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; Snacks, bottled water, and lunch will be provided.

    RSVP: Space is limited. Please RSVP to frank.lewington@oregonmetro.gov and indicate if you are interested in carpooling.

    Parking and Directions: Parking is very limited and carpooling or taking TriMet is encouraged. The Locks are adjacent to the West Linn Paper Company, and access to the Locks is from Hwy 43/Willamette Drive, at the west end of the Oregon City Arch Bridge. Park in the West Linn Paper Company Shuttle Truck Parking Lot on the east side of Mill Street; enter the lot by the intersection of Territorial and Mill Street. Walk south to the Security Office, where you will be directed to the work area.

    We hope to see you at the Locks on the 14!

    The Willamette Falls Team at the National Trust

  • Senator Wyden Likes the Locks

    September 18, 2015

    At the end of August, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden hosted a meeting in Oregon City to discuss three exciting area projects, including the future of the Willamette Falls Locks and Canal. Participants in the meeting included former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, who is now a National Trust consultant; National Trust Peggy Sigler, also a Trust consultant; and Sandy Carter, our partner at the Willamette Falls Heritage Coalition. Senator Wyden spoke with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Staff about their plans to convey the Locks to another operator and sought answers to a number of questions he had about that plan. Trust staffers Amy Cole and Shaw Sprague also attended the meeting and made a visit to the Locks to wave the "This Place Matters" flag.

  • New Law Creates Willamette Falls Canal and Locks Task Force

    August 6, 2015

    On July 27, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 131 into law, creating a 17-member Task Force on the Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks.

    Once convened, the task force is charged with compiling information related to the impact of reopening the canal and locks. Among the topics that will be investigated are exploring potential new economic opportunities, analyzing their importance regarding emergency planning, seeking out recreational and commercial uses, and considering the process by which the locks can be repaired and reopened. Members of the task force are now being identified and the group should convene in the fall, with anticipated completion of work by the end of 2017.

    This legislation is the culmination of efforts by the National Trust and its partners since Willamette Falls Canal and Locks was named a National Treasure and we are excited to see the final report from this Task Force.

  • Congressman Schrader and Corps Leaders Meet at Locks

    January 28, 2015

    Under a light drizzle on Friday, January 23rd, Congressman Kurt Schrader and former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley toured the Willamette Falls Locks with decision-makers from the Corps of Engineers Portland District: Colonel Jose Aguilar, District Engineer Kevin Brice, Bonneville Operations Project Manager Jerry Carroll and Willamette Falls Locks Project Manager Louis Landre. Joining in the tour from the Trust were Vice President Barb Pahl from Denver, Senior Field Director Anthony Veerkamp from San Francisco, and me, Peggy Sigler, Oregon Field Officer and Willamette Falls Locks Project Manager. Also participating: Sandy Carter, facilitator for our on-the-ground partner, One Willamette River Coalition; Gary Schmidt, Clackamas County Director of Public and Government Affairs; Andy Cotugno, METRO Policy Advisor; Brian Konen, West Linn Paper Chief Operating Officer; and Brian Spak, PGE Manager of Federal Government Affairs.

    In a brief overview by Mr. Landre, he presented a detailed explanation of the risk of the corroded gudgeon anchors which triggered the closure of the Locks in 2011, and the inability of the Portland District to get Corps funds to repair them. During the tour, we got to see those gudgeon anchors up close, and compare them with others which were installed in a different manner and faring well. The gudgeon anchors are large, iron pins which anchor the swinging gates of the locks far back into the stone walls. Their testing and repair, or replacement with externally mounted anchors, are not insurmountable nor even expensive in the comparative scale of Corps of Engineers budgeting.

    And therein lies one of the issues: the Willamette Falls Locks are too small of a waterway infrastructure project to create a blip on the Corps' national radar. But we will continue to raise awareness for repairing and reopening of the Locks. We need the Corps to commit in writing, letting the public know what the Corps wants to do with the Locks, be it cost-share, lease, transfer, or other unknown possibilities. Their own regulations prohibit passing on a public liability, so we understand that to mean that repairs must be made to make the Locks safe before a new owner/operator can take over. In the past, other Corps sites have been transferred to local ownership with an endowment. Continued work with the Portland District of the Corps of Engineers to craft a future for the Willamette Falls Locks is crucial.

    Good questions were asked of the Corps on this VIP tour. Good will was generated. And some good direction for moving forward with our advocacy campaign with the Corps of Engineers came out of Congressman Schrader's visit to the Locks.

    Thank you, Congressman Schrader, Col Aguilar, and others for making time in your busy days to tour the Locks with us.

All 5 updates

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