PGE to demolish 111-year-old Faraday Powerhouse dam
A storied structure on the Clackamas River will soon begin a new chapter of its history.
The Faraday Powerhouse, Portland General Electric's first dam on the Clackamas River that was built 111 years ago, will be demolished next month and rebuilt shortly after.
Sean Flak, senior project manager for Portland General Electric, described the new Faraday Powerhouse as "a longstanding hydropower asset for our customers."
Though the new powerhouse will provide PGE and its customers with many benefits, the company also recognizes the initial structure's significance in Estacada's history and plans to preserve several elements of the building.
The city of Estacada and the Faraday Powerhouse have shared a close relationship since construction on the latter was finished in 1908. Initially known as the Cazadero Dam, the powerhouse was one element that contributed to Estacada's early population growth.
PGE archaeologist Mini Sharma-Ogle noted that many people moved to Estacada because of the railroad between the town and Portland — and to work at the powerhouse.
"They both gave to each other. The project fueled the city's growth through the railroad, and the city provided labor," Sharma-Ogle said. "Relationships were built, and there was synergy."
The Faraday Powerhouse was designed by TW Sullivan, who was also the mind behind PGE's first power plant, the Willamette Falls hydro plant.
Sharma-Ogle noted that the powerhouse was an innovative structure on the Clackamas River.
"Nothing else was here in terms of big projects harnessing power in the river," she said.
According to an account on the Oregon Encyclopedia, when construction on the initial Faraday Powerhouse was complete, power from the dam was sent to Portland to illuminate a sign at the top of a local newspaper office. The sign was made from incandescent lamps that said "Cazadero's Greetings to Portland."
Since its completion, the Faraday Powerhouse has provided power to the region for more than 100 years and weathered several storms.
"(Faraday) has its place in history," Sharma-Ogle said.
Click here to read the rest of the story in the Estacada News.
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