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The City's Bureau of Hydroelectric Power was established in 1979 to supervise the construction and then administer the ongoing operation of the Portland Hydroelectric Project located in the Bull Run watershed. That project was completed and commercial generation was initiated in early 1982. The City sells the full power generation output from this project to Portland General Electric (PGE) who then operates, maintains and repairs the project's facilities for the City.
Since 1989, the Bureau of Hydroelectric Power has reported directly to the Portland Water Bureau. In the City's budget system, it is currently budgeted as the Hydroelectric Power Division of the Portland Water Bureau and its finances are kept separate from those of the rest of the Portland Water Bureau. Proceeds from the sales of the project's power generation output to PGE pay for all debt service on the Portland Hydroelectric Power Revenue Bonds originally sold to finance the construction of the project's facilities. Those power sales proceeds also pay for the City's project administration costs with all excess profits going to the City's General Fund.
The Portland Hydroelectric Project was constructed and currently operates under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and permits from both the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) and the US Forest Service. As a condition of the FERC license, in 1984, the City also entered into an agreement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to mitigate for the loss of fish habitat caused by the construction of the City's Headworks Diversion Dam in 1924. Through that agreement, the project pays the ODFW for the annual off-site rearing of 32,000 pounds of fish smolts at ODFW's Clackamas River Fish Hatchery. Those spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead smolts are then released into the Sandy and/or Clackamas River systems at the ODFW's discretion.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Want more information about hydroelectric power? Visit these fun sites.
Foundation for Water and Energy Education
U. S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (info for kids)