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Dam Fiasco

The Dam Fiasco

Our Central Oregon Nordic Club co-sponsored a presentation of “The Dam Fiasco” on Tuesday, May 7, by Mike Berry, a surveyor for Central Oregon.  The presentation drew a couple hundred of interested folks. 

Way back in 1913-15, con men convinced local Tumalo farmers to fund a huge dam at Bull Flat to create an enormous reservoir capable of irrigating 30,000 acres of desert.  A huge dam was built, and the reservoir was filled.  But the dam engineer failed to check the soil at Bull Flat.  Sinkholes opened up at the bottom of the reservoir and siphoned the water away as quickly as it could be filled.  The ground was porous and webbed underneath with lava tubes. 

In 1922, the Irrigation District took over the project, diverted water from the Deschutes River into the reservoir (now called Tumalo Reservoir).  The final project was able to irrigate some 7,000 acres.

You can see Mike’s presentation:  Click here.