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FLOOD-CONTROL BILL OF 1946
MONDAY, APRIL 15, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C.
WILLAMETTE RIVER BASIN
The committe met at 10 a, m., pursuant to adjournment, Hon. Will M. Whittington (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
We have for consideration today the matter of additional authorizations for the approved plan for the Willamette River Basin. We have under consideration reports that have been submitted both to the Congress and to the Director of the Budget since the Flood Control Act of 1944 covering streams in the Great Basin, exclusive of California.
I will have first a general statement from the Chief of Engineers, or Colonel Herb, with respect to the projects included in this general area, and, Colonel Herb, we will be glad to have your statement at this time.
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STATEMENT OF COL. E. G. HERB, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO
DIRECTOR OF CIVIL WORKS, OFFICE, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS
The CHAIRMAN. Have we any other projects except the Willamette River Basin project in this area that is listed for the hearings this morning where authorizations have previously been made?
Colonel HERB. No, sir. The Willamette River Basin is the only one where previous authorizations are available.
The CHAIRMAN. In the Willamette River Basin, the approved plan contemplated construction of reservoirs and other improvements at an estimated cost of around $121,000,000, did it not?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Thus far there has been authorized sustantially $42,300,000; is that correct? Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And that amount would be required to complete the works that are under way?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So at present there is no monetary authorization for the construction of any of the additional approved projects? Colonel HERB. That is correct, sir.
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The CHAIRMAN. Now, then, for all other projects flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and into the Great Basin, which have been approved, there have been authorized sufficient moneys for their construction?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any other general statement that you care to make with respect to the situation existing in this Great Basin and in the general area under consideration today? Colonel HERB. None, sir, except for the Willamette Basin.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any further statement you want to make with respect to the Willamette project?
Colonel HERB. When you take that up, I would like to give the status of that project.
The CHAIRMAN. You may give us that for the record.
Colonel HERB. The Willamette River Basin comprehensive project was authorized by the Flood-Control Act of 1938, at which time $11,300,000 was authorized for the initiation and partial accomplishment of the plan.
Flood-Control Act of 1941 authorized $11,000,000 in addition to the previous authorization for the prosecution of the plan approved in the 1938 act.
The Flood-Control Act of 1944 authorized $20,000,000, making a total authorization of $12,300,000 for prosecution of the plan.
The existing project consists of seven reservoirs, bank protection at numerous localities on the Willamette and its tributaries, and provision for fish facilities on the Willamette River and tributaries.
The reservoir projects are located on the tributaries of the Willamette. The two reservoirs that have been completed are Cottage Grove and Fern Ridge projects.
The three that are in the planning stage are Lookout Point at the Meridian site on the Middle Fork and an alternate site, or sites, for the Quartz Creek and Sweet Home Reservoirs on the McKenzie and South Santiam Rivers and their tributaries, respectively.
The two projects under construction are Dorena on the Row River and Detroit on the North Santiam. Local interests have made several improvements in this area. They have spent about $250,000 on local protection works. The city of Portland has constructed a concrete retaining wall at a cost of about $2,800,000.
The Federal Government has also expended about $300,000 of ERA funds for bank-protection work along the main stream near Independence and between Harrisburg and Eugene.
This past year, in December 1945 and January of 1946, the Willamette River underwent an extreme flood. This flood caused damages estimated at about $6,000,000 and inundated about 360,000 acres. The reduction in damage credited to the operation of the completed Cot. tage Grove and Fern Ridge Reservoirs is estimated at $1.200,000. The damage prevented in this one flood represents approximately onefifth of the total construction cost of those two projects. It is also estimated that had the Detroit, Dorena, and Lookout Point projects been completed and in operation, a further additional reduction would have resulted to the extent of about $3,000,000.
The existing authorization will allow us to complete the Dorena project and initiate the Detroit and Lookout Point projects. Additional authorization is needed for the completion of the Detroit and Lookout Point projects and also for the construction of a reservoir on
the McKenzie River or alternate reservoirs on tributaries of the McKenzie River depending on the results of the additional studies now under way as well as for the bank-protection works along the Willamette River, and the provision for the fish facilities.
AMAZON CREEK, OREG.
The CHAIRMAN. The first individual project on the schedule that has been submitted since the Flood-Control Act of 1944 is the Amazon Creek project in Oregon, Senate Document No. 138, Seventy-ninth Congress.
As shown by this document, the report was transmitted by the Chief of Engineers to the governor and the Secretary of the Interior, as required by the Flood Control Act of 1944. The report thereon states that the work is economically justified, and the improvement is recommended. The Chief of Engineers recommends favorable consideration of this project with a rather high ratio of benefits as to cost.
Amazon Creek, for this record, rises in the steep hills of western Oregon and flows about 24 miles generally north to its junction with Long Tom River, a tributary of the Willamette River, and its course extends through the small Clear Lake, which is about 9 miles above the mouth.
What is the drainage area involved?
STATEMENT OF COL. E. G. HERB, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CIVIL
WORKS DIVISION, OFFICE, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS Colonel HERB. Amazon Creek flows through Eugene, Oreg., and then northeasterly to its junction with the Long Tom River, as the chairman just informed you.
The drainage basin contains about 56 square miles, of which the lower 44 square miles is flat agricultural land devoted to the production of fruits, berries, small grains, pasture, and hay.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there a flood hazard and do floods occur?
Colonel HERB. Floods occur several times annually and inundate from 800 to 900 acres of agricultural lands and affect about 50 city blocks of the residential section of the city of Eugene, Oreg. Large floods occurred in November 1941 and December 1942, and inundated 3,000 and 4,900 acres of land, respectively.
The future average direct flood damage in the basin, based on developments existent in 1943, is estimated at $28,760 of which $17,660 will occur to agriculture along the lower 11 miles of the stream and $7,730 to agriculture, and $3,370 to urban, municipal, and utility properties in the upper section of the basin. :
The proposed plan consists of channel improvements from a point above the south limits of Eugene through the city to a diversion structure 11 miles above the mouth of the creek, thence a diversion canal about 31,2 miles long to the Fern Ridge Reservoir on the Long Tom River; channel improvement of the lower 9 miles of the creek from Clear Lake to Long Tom River; and a drainage ditch to drain the area north and east of the airport.
The ChairMAN. What is the population of Eugene, Oreg. ?
Colonel HERB. Eugene, Oreg., in 1940 had a population of 20,000. I was out there about 3 months ago and the people told me that city now has a much greater population.
The CHAIRMAN. Will the improvement proposed protect that area? Colonel HERB. This improvement will protect that area, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The ratio of costs to benefits is 1 to 1.8, as I recall it.
Colonel HERB. That is correct, sir.
Colonel HERB. The total estimated cost is $284,000, sir, of which local interests will bear about $58,000. The Governor of Oregon, by letter dated September 11, 1945, officially endorsed and approved the proposed improvements on Amazon Creek as a worthy project.
The CHAIRMAN. They are to furnish the rights-of-way?
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions by members of the committee? If not, Colonel, is there any further statement you desire to submit with respect to this project? Any person here opposing the project? Any other advocates?
Mr. Dixon. We have comments on several projects. Would you rather have us discuss them as we proceed ?
The CHAIRMAN. We have referred already to the report. Have you any comments with respect to this project?
Mr. Dixon. None other than those contained in the original report. STATEMENT OF HON. HARRIS ELLSWORTH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM OREGON Mr. ELLSWORTH. I would like to make a general statement on this project in connection with the hearings you have just had.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have your statement.
Mr. ELLSWORTH. On March 14 I introduced H. R. 5771 to authorize the construction of flood-control work on the Amazon Creek for the protection of Eugene, Oreg., and downstream agricultural areas. This project is recommended in the report of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, in Senate Document 138 of the Seventy-ninth Congress. The total estimated cost of the project is $284,000, of which $226,000 is the Federal cost. The report of the Army engineers sets forth ample justification for the proposed project.
It is my desire to present to the committee, additional reasons for the urgency and need of this flood-control protection to the city of Eugene and the agricultural lands downstream. About 20 years ago, the city of Eugene spent a large sum dredging and diking the Amazon to a point about a mile beyond the then city limits. This improvement provided considerable relief but the city has grown rapidly and the Army engineers are the only agency with authority broad enough to make the needed improvements at this time.
Amazon Creek runs north and west for about 210 miles through the most heavily populated part of Eugene. A flash flood is experienced in the Amazon area at least once every winter, and sometimes two and three times during the same season. These floods do not coincide with floods on the Willamette, since any heavy local rains flood the Amazon.