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PGE project will close Promontory attractions

Representatives from Portland General Electric attended the Estacada City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 14, to discuss plans to build a massive surface collector on the North Fork reservoir.

Nicholas J. Loos, plant manager of PGE’s West Side Hydro Projects, explained that the project is required by PGE’s recently renewed license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to continue to operate the West Side Hydro Projects.

Construction is expected to begin this fall and to be completed in 2015.

Biologist Tim Shibahara compared the surface collector to a “very large barge, as large as City Hall.”

When completed, the structure will float on North Fork Reservoir.

The surface collector will funnel in juvenile fish and pipe them below the dam, similar to the surface collector on River Mill Dam.

The intent is to allow fish to pass safely through the system of hydro projects.

Shibahara said this is the most significant project that PGE is expected to complete for its re-licensing agreement in terms of both finances and fish passage.

During the construction of the surface collector, recreation in the area will be impacted.

The Promontory boat ramp, store and marina will be closed during construction.

The Promontory Campground will stay open.

“It will render that boat ramp not useful for the next several years,” Shibahara said.

Tim Dentel, PGE’s park program manager, told the council that the company planned to improve the lower boat launch to provide a recreational alternative to the main boat launch.

At the moment, the lower launch is undeveloped and usually used as a place to remove logs and debris.

Dentel said the company plans to improve the boat ramp, add parking and a restroom.

Shibahara added that the reservoir will be stocked with hatchery trout by the state.

Councilor Sean Drinkwine said that in years past, after flooding, signs indicating recreational site closures impaired tourism to the Estacada area for years.

Council President Michele Conditt indicated that it was important to send the message that the Promontory area won’t be closed — there will just be limited access during the construction.

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