Columbia River

Photo courtesy Jay Inslee

Wednesday Governor Jay Inslee was able to get up close to drilling machines on the damaged Wanapum Dam in central Washington. It came out this week that the dam’s massive crack was caused by fundamental design errors and bad concrete pours in 1960. Correspondent Anna King has our story.

Gov. Inslee To Tour Cracked Wanapum Dam

May 14, 2014
Anna King / Northwest News Network

Governor Jay Inslee will get to see the massive problems with central Washington's Wanapum Dam for himself Wednesday. Major design miscalculations and construction flaws are to blame for the dam’s massive crack. Now officials say they’ll be studying other dams on the Columbia River as well.

Grant PUD

A host of problems caused the massive crack in Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington. That’s the news out of a Grant County utility district meeting Tuesday.

Officials at five dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers will start killing birds that eat migrating juvenile salmon. They are meant to protect endangered salmon and steelhead as they begin their journey out to sea.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Dozens of central Washington fruit farmers are still high and dry without water for their valuable fruit trees. Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam.

But it turns out the farmers’ rush for water is now being slowed because of concerns over endangered tiny baby salmon. 

Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, there at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.  Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and rate payers in the U.S. Northwest. At issue is whether and how to renew the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty. 

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Officials in Grant County, Wash., are asking the public to stay away from the shoreline behind the damaged Wanapum Dam. They drew down the level of the reservoir to take pressure off a cracked portion of the spillway. 

Water behind the Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Wash., is being drawn down 26 feet to relieve pressure on the big crack in the structure.

Dam operators are struggling to find a solution for a major underwater crack in the Wanapum Dam. It spans the Columbia River in central Washington near Vantage.

Oregon's state treasurer says he won't approve bonds for a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River without a guarantee: that Oregon can collect tolls from Washington drivers.

Courtney Flatt

Pacific lamprey numbers are quickly declining throughout Northwestern waters. Tribal elders remember times when the Columbia River was black with the eel-like fish. Now, Northwest researchers are trying to develop a lamprey hatchery – the first of its kind in the world. But, there are challenges ahead.

The American negotiating position became clearer Friday in what promises to be difficult bargaining to update a water treaty with Canada.

U.S. senators from the Northwest say it is time "to strike a better bargain" with Canada over hydropower generated along the shared Columbia River.

Virginia Sea Grant

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday approved new fees for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon fishing in most of the state's non-coastal rivers.

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Two federal agencies are recommending that a 50-year-old treaty between the U.S. and Canada be renegotiated to give Northwest electricity ratepayers and salmon a better deal.

USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

Not much would change for dam operations on the Columbia River under the federal government’s new draft plan for protecting endangered salmon and steelhead.

Sunken Ship On Columbia Poses Oil Spill Risk

Aug 28, 2013

Washington officials responding to a sunken vessel in the Columbia River are advising people to avoid contact with a stretch of the water downstream from Longview.

Jessica Robinson

Washington's most famous ferries are in Puget Sound. But another, inland ferry operated by the state has been quietly shuttling cars across the Columbia River since 1948. And Wednesday, that ferry crossing got a badly needed update. Correspondent Jessica Robinson was at the christening of the new vessel and has this story.

Cassandra Profita

Coal opponents danced, waved banners and cheered Tuesday outside a Portland hearing about a proposed export terminal. It was a quieter scene inside the meetings in Eastern and Western Oregon, where officials heard hundreds of public comments.

Here's a little known fact that may affect your power bill: Every year, public utilities in the Northwest give British Columbia several hundred million dollars worth of electricity. That's to compensate Canada for managing the upper Columbia River to minimize flooding and maximize hydropower downstream.

Americans are pushing for a better deal, but the B.C. government is preparing to defend what's now considered an entitlement.

In what Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls "a dang shame," plans for a new bridge over the Columbia River are shelved -- if not dead. The Washington legislature adjourned without funding the construction phase of the project.

You might call the Columbia River Crossing “the bridge to the archives.” That’s where the blueprints will go now that the Washington Senate said “no” to a gas tax increase. That nixes $450 million for the new bridge over the mighty Columbia between Vancouver and Portland.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

For thousands of years, Northwest tribes have used the Columbia River as a regional center of commerce. For the first time this summer, they’re building a new venue for their ancient tradition – a native-owned seafood shop.

Oregon and Washington have signed mitigation agreements with two of the three industrial companies whose business would be disrupted by the Columbia River Crossing. April Baer reports from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Columbia River Crossing

When Washington lawmakers return to Olympia in two weeks for a special session, Governor Jay Inslee is demanding they approve funding for the new Columbia River Crossing. The Democrat wants that funding included in a broader gas tax measure.

Northwest News Network

The $3.5 billion effort to build a new bridge between Portland and Vancouver is in trouble in the Washington Senate. That’s the view of a Southwest Washington Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.

A decades-long treaty between the United States and Canada will soon be up for renewal. It governs power management and flood control in the Columbia River Basin. Next year is the first time in 50 years either country can end or revise the treaty.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A costly new interstate highway bridge over the Columbia River is spurring brinkmanship in Olympia. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Democratic Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday to press state lawmakers to commit hundreds of millions dollars to the proposed new toll bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

Inslee Stumps For Columbia River Crossing

Mar 25, 2013

Washington Governor Jay Inslee urged a group of regional business leaders today / yesterday (Friday)  to urge state legislators to support the Columbia River Crossing --the proposed new I-5 bridge.  April Baer reports.

Pages