Floodgates open for the first time at Fall Creek dam

The floodgates on the Fall Creek dam have been opened for the first time ever Thursday.

Posted: Apr 11, 2019 6:42 PM

FALL CREEK, Ore. -- The floodgates on the Fall Creek dam have been opened for the first time ever Thursday.

Erik Petersen, a manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the Fall Creek spillgates hadn't been opened since the dam was built in 1966.

"Everything we do is to improve the quality of life of people, and what we do is prevent catastrophic flooding," Petersen said.

The released waters have led to flooding in some residential areas of unincorporated Fall Creek, but so far there hasn't been any catastrophic flooding anywhere.

RELATED: Army Corps of Engineers releasing water from Fall Creek Lake 

"I think people understand why we're doing this. It's about doing the least amount of damage to the most people," Petersen said. 

Petersen said that while the Corps comes prepared every season, this one in particular held some unique challenges.

Because flooding doesn't usually happen this late in the season, the Corps didn't leave much room in the reservoir for extra water.
When the rains hit, they had no choice but to open the gates.

Some neighbors said there is no way to prepare for weather you don't expect, but that doesn't mean they don't have it covered should another storm hit.

"If you know your neighbor, you're probably going to be the best prepared," Fall Creek resident David McCoy said. "It's not a kit. It's not something you hold on to, and that's what I've seen here. Everybody's got together. Even here people down the river are helping clear trees."

The Pleasant Hill, Dexter and Lowell fire departments have all said that no calls for rescues have been made, and they don't anticipate there will be any.

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