The Dalles Dam

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The Dalles Dam
Epa-archives the dalles dam-cropped.jpg
From the Washington side
Official nameThe Dalles Lock and Dam
LocationKlickitat County, Washington / Wasco County, Oregon, USA
Coordinates45°36′44″N 121°08′04″W / 45.61222°N 121.13444°W / 45.61222; -121.13444 (The Dalles Dam)Coordinates: 45°36′44″N 121°08′04″W / 45.61222°N 121.13444°W / 45.61222; -121.13444 (The Dalles Dam)
Construction began1952
Opening date1957
Operator(s)U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Operator)
Bonneville Power Administration (Marketer)
Dam and spillways
Type of damConcrete gravity, run-of-the-river
Height200 feet (61 m)
Length8,835 feet (2,693 m)
Width (base)239 feet (73 m) (Spillway)
Spillway typeService, gate-controlled
Spillway capacity2,290,000 cu ft/s (65,000 m3/s)
CreatesLake Celilo
Total capacity330,000 acre⋅ft (0.41 km3)
Power Station
Installed capacity1,878.3 MW
Max.: 2,160 MW
Annual generation6,180 GWh[1]

The Dalles Dam is a concrete-gravity run-of-the-river dam spanning the Columbia River, two miles (3 km) east of the city of The Dalles, Oregon, United States.[2] It joins Wasco County, Oregon with Klickitat County, Washington, 300 miles (309 km) upriver from the mouth of the Columbia near Astoria, Oregon. The closest towns on the Washington side are Dallesport and Wishram.

The Army Corps of Engineers began work on the dam in 1952 and completed it five years later. Slack water created by the dam submerged Celilo Falls, the economic and cultural hub of Native Americans in the region and the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America.[3] On March 10, 1957, hundreds of observers looked on as the rising waters rapidly silenced the falls, submerged fishing platforms, and consumed the village of Celilo. Ancient petroglyphs were also in the area being submerged. Approximately 40 petroglyph panels were removed with jackhammers before inundation and were placed in storage before being installed in Columbia Hills State Park in the 2000s.[4]

Newsreel footage of native fishers at Celilo Falls in 1956, shortly before the site was submerged by the Dalles Dam (35 sec.) (media help)

The reservoir behind the dam is named Lake Celilo and runs 24 miles (39 km) up the river channel, to the foot of John Day Dam. The dam is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the power is marketed by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). It is part of an extensive system of dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

The Dalles Dam Visitor Center, in Seufert Park on the Oregon shore, was built in 1981. A tour train was closed in autumn 2001, partly due to post-September 11 security concerns, and partly due to deteriorating track conditions and a small derailment. The Columbia Hills State Park is nearby.

The Dalles Lock and Dam has been designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.[5]


Tributaries of the Columbia River, showing hydroelectric dams
  • Altitude: 79 feet (24 m) above sea level[citation needed]
  • Height: 200 feet (61 m)[6] (Lake Celilo normal pool elevation 158 feet (48 m))[7]
  • Length: 8,835 feet (2,693 m)[6]
  • Navigation lock:
    • Single-lift
    • 86 feet (26 m) wide[7]
    • 675 feet (206 m) long[7]
  • Powerhouse:
    • Length: 2,089 feet (637 m)[citation needed]
    • Fourteen 94,400 kilowatt units[7]
    • Eight 104,000 kilowatt units[7]
    • Total capacity: 1,878.3 megawatts[7]
    • Overload capacity: 2,160 MW[7]
  • Spillway:
    • Gates: 23[7]
    • Length: 1,447 feet (441 m)[7]
    • Capacity: 2,290,000 cu ft/s (65,000 m3/s)[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Carbon Monitoring for Action | Center For Global Development".
  2. ^ "The Columbia River System Inside Story" (PDF). pp. 14–15. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ Dietrich, William (1995). Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. p. 52.
  4. ^ Banyasz, Malin Grunberg (May–Jun 2017). "Off the Grid". Archaeology. 70 (3): 10. ISSN 0003-8113. Retrieved 3 July 2017 – via EBSCO's Master File Complete (subscription required) {{cite journal}}: External link in |postscript= (help)CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. ^ Goodell, Christopher R. (Spring 2014). "The Dalles Dam – An ASCE National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark" (PDF). EWRI Currents. 17 (2): 6–9. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "The Dalles Lock and Dam". National Performance of Dams Program. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Dalles Lock and Dam Fact Sheet". United States Army Corps of Engineers. 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2020.

External links[edit]