Downstream side of the dangerous low head Winchester Dam

[Letter to the editor of the Roseburg News-Review, October 3, 2023]

“It is high time the Winchester dam is removed. It’s been impeding the world famous North Umpqua for well over 100 years. The problems are way too many to mention here. I’ve been keeping a close eye on this debacle but was not aware of just how many more issues Winchester Dam has until I read a very well written article Mr. Carloni wrote in the Umpqua Watershed newsletter.

“If you care about the river I recommend you look this one up. It’s a long running ecological disaster that should bring our community together.

“I sympathize to some extent with the 100 or so families in the Winchester Water Control District. Three million dollars have already been used up on phase one for a very shoddy job and phase two will be millions more if ever completed. All the while WaterWatch of Oregon will sponsor and pay to have the dam removed. Basically it’s a no brainer. It relieves the potential long term liability that could cost the 100 families millions and millions of dollars more. Think of the potential cost to these folks if more lawsuits are fought or lost.

“Removing the dam will begin the healing of one of our most precious DC resources. Once it’s back in shape and looks like the river it’s supposed to be, I suspect the property values will go up.

“So, let’s look beyond the miserable failure on the repairs, the waste of money all these unfortunate WWCD folks are forced to pay now or will pay. Look beyond various government and ODFWs irresponsible permits. Lets move forward and restore the river for all the people and all the fish. Remove the useless dam.”

-Bill Black, Roseburg, Oregon