The demolition this past summer of the Marmot Dam on the Sandy River east of Portland came about because enviro-law changes meant massive future costs for the dam's owner, Portland General Electric. About eight years ago, a diverse crowd started kicking around ideas with the PGE execs. More than 20 interest groups weighed in, including the usual fervent water rats, as well as business types, politicians, and a lot of folks who couldn't find the Sandy River on a map but liked the idea of giving it and its resident salmon a new, sparkling, and dam-free existence.
The result was believed to be the biggest Oregon dam-demo job ever, making it easier for salmon to do what salmon do best, and a 1,500-acre land donation by PGE to the Western Rivers Conservancy. PGE also kicks in for restoring land and fish habitat. Thousands more acres went to the Bureau of Land Management to be used for recreational pastimes.
A new, well-crafted six-minute film posted on YouTube.com, produced by Amy Kober of the Seattle-based