There can be no doubt that the Winchester Dam will be removed. After the Winchester Water Control District is dissolved and their private water ski lake is drained, migratory native fish will naturally repopulate the North Umpqua River, the number one steelhead stream in North America, and some say, in the world.

The fishing season won’t be closed every August. Within a decade, the fish populations will be so robust, the fishing season will be open 12 months a year, as it is in nearby Curry County.

A 12-month fishing season means jobs for our children and grandchildren guiding anglers on the river, renting them hotel rooms, boats, and cars, filling their tanks with fuel, serving them meals and drinks, and selling them provisions and fishing tackle.

A whitewater park on the North Umpqua River, just west of where the dam once stood, will transform Roseburg into a national recreation destination. The boat ramp on the south shore is the put in for the white-water park, and Amacher Park, a few hundred feet downstream, is pull out. The river can be divided into “lanes” – one for the white-water rapids and on the other for clear fish passage and recreational use of the river. And there would be a new industry renting kayaks and inner tubes.

The millions of dollars generated from fishing and recreational whitewater tourism will raise Douglas County out of poverty and into prosperity. There’ll be more employment and better pay. Our children and grandchildren won’t have to leave the county to find good jobs. 

Today, big timber companies pay one tenth of the taxes they paid 20 years ago to compensate the poor Oregon counties they clearcut and spray. This future would make up for the loss of timber revenue. 

All we have to do is remove the Winchester Dam.

Bring down the dam. Bring back the fish and the jobs.