Repairs complete to 1 of 2 malfunctioning dam gates

LEABURG, Ore. - Repairs are complete to one of the malfunctioning gates at Leaburg Dam.

The $3 million fix means that Eugene Water and Electric Board can begin to refill the reservoir behind the dam.

One of the gates failed in 2012. Another failed this past December.

EWEB locked the third gate open and allowed the reservoir to drain while expediting repairs.

That prompted a nearby fish hatchery to move hundreds of thousands of Chinook salmon smolt to avoid a lack of water.

About 11,000 were lost when a hatchery truck crashed. State police charged the driver with DUI.

To repair the gate that malfunctioned in 2012, crews replaced the motor and gear box.

EWEB ran tests last Saturday and this past Wednesday, and so far the repairs appear to work.

Crews plan to do some more calibration work this coming week. After that, both gates 2 and 3 will be considered fully functional, and Leaburg Lake will start to refill.

Gate 1 will be repaired by the end of the year.

Repairs to that gate, which malfunctioned in December, will cost less - about $1.5 million - thanks to work already done to repair the first gate.

EWEB took advantage of the drained reservoir to clear out silt that had built up at the fish ladder.

Crews also cleared out much of the silt at the boat landing area.

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