An April 1, 2020 letter sent to the Winchester Water Control Board (WWCD) offers to permanently remove the Winchester Dam “at little or no direct cost to the District [WWCD]” and to “end ongoing harm to fisheries and water quality in the North Umpqua River.”

The letter was signed by the leaders of Steamboaters, North Umpqua Foundation, Umpqua Watersheds, Inc., Umpqua Valley Fly Fishers, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Northwest Guides and Anglers Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations, Oregon Wild, Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, Rogue Flyfishers, Pacific Rivers, Native Fish Society, Cascadia Wildlands, American Whitewater, and McKenzie Flyfishers.

It’s a standing offer that WWCD refuses to acknowledge.

In a graphic example of the pathology of wealth and power, 99 rich property owners in WWCD collectively decided to spend more than $3 million of their own money this summer to repair the long ago condemned Winchester Dam, in order to retain control of their private water ski lake, rather than allow river advocate groups to remove the dam at no cost to the WWCD.

Ironically, if the dam was removed and the river returned to its normal, lower water level, lakefront property owners in the WWCD would gain additional acreage. Some properties would more than double in size and increase in value.

Community consensus to remove the Winchester Dam is widespread.

It is apparent that the only thing standing between Douglas County and economic prosperity is the Winchester Dam.

Bring down the dam.

Bring back the fish and the jobs.