Pamplin Media Group – Kellogg Dam Removal Project Finally Gets a Big Boost in Milwaukie

Partnerships and design planning will advance with federal funding

Finally, some good news regarding the removal of the Kellogg Dam.PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - John Young shows where beavers have built a dam behind his property near Kellogg Creek in Milwaukie.  Efforts to remove Kellogg's man-made dam are intended to encourage more wildlife to return to the creek.

“The process just took a big step forward, thanks to longtime river advocate Senator Jeff Merkley. He was able to secure $585,000 in congressional funding for the next stage of a Kellogg’s Creek design. flow through the dam site in the appropriations bill that just passed,” said Neil Schulman, executive director of the North Clackamas Watersheds Council.

This all happened over the course of a year with the Oregon congressional delegation, Schulman said, noting that Merkley was the leader, but Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Kurt Schrader were also involved.

He added that the NCWC, American Rivers, the city of Milwaukie and other state agencies are all part of the effort.

“We are very pleased that Merkley was able to catalyze the project in this way; preparing the project for the next steps is absolutely essential, and it’s a testament to his lifelong passion for Oregon’s rivers that dates back to long before he was a senator,” Schulman said.FILE PHOTO PMG - Kellogg Dam is now owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation.  The removal of the dam is complicated by the fact that the Highway 99E bridge over Kellogg Creek, built in 1934, sits over the dam.PMG FILE PHOTO: ELLEN SPITALERI - Former watershed event organizer Greg Baartz-Bowman, left, and Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba stand on the bridge overlooking the Kellogg Creek Dam, with the Willamette River in background.  The removal of the dam is the subject of a popular campaign.

Kellogg Dam, built in 1858, sits at the confluence of Kellogg Creek and the Willamette River in downtown Milwaukie. It was built to power a flour mill which closed in the 1890s and has not been in use since; it is now owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation. A bridge over Highway 99E, built in 1934, sits atop the dam.

The Kellogg Dam is a near total barrier to rearing, staging and spawning habitat for salmonids throughout the Kellogg’s Creek and Scott’s Creek watersheds. Removing the dam will benefit salmonids and other threatened and endangered species, and restore the creek to a meandering, free-flowing channel, Schulman said.

He added that Kellogg Creek is a vital tributary of the Willamette River and is vital to the “customary and accustomed places” that are part of the treaty rights of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs and the Confederate Tribes of Grande Ronde.

“It’s important habitat for salmon, rainbow trout and lamprey, all of which are important to the tribes.


Congressional funding that was just approved will go towards the design, Schulman said. The process will need to determine what the new channel should look like and what its slope, water velocity and channel shape will be after the dam is removed. The way of managing the sediments behind the dam will also be taken into account; how to ensure that the new channel is the best way to provide free passage for juvenile and adult salmon, rainbow trout and lamprey; and how wide the new highway 99E bridge will need to be.

“These are all complex design issues that require many engineering steps to determine. Funding for the removal of the dam and replacement of the Highway 99E bridge that sits on the dam will come later once the design is complete. We’re actively pursuing those sources now,” Schulman said.

“People have been advocating for the project for decades, and some initial studies have been completed in the past. However, planning for the project is officially underway now,” said April McEwan, river restoration project manager for American Rivers. , a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of wild rivers. , restoring damaged rivers and conserving clean water for people and nature.


McEwan noted that his organization, along with NCWC, the city of Milwaukie and the Oregon Department of Transportation will work closely to sponsor and manage the project.

Many key partners are also represented on a Technical Advisory Committee that will play an important role in selecting a preferred design alternative, contributing to design development and a streamlined licensing process. These partners include the Warm Springs Confederate Tribes, the Grande Ronde Confederate Tribes, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the District of Parks. and Recreation of North Clackamas.

Other partners can lend their support to the project by helping with funding or expressing support, McEwan noted.

She added, “Complex projects like Kellogg’s can be completed in a timely manner when a collaborative planning approach is taken and partnerships are developed. So many resources and a variety of expertise are needed, but partnerships create a support system that allows large projects to deal with unforeseen circumstances that might arise. »

Feasibility assessment

Interfluve, an employee-owned, Hood River-based consulting firm specializing in providing professional design services for river restoration projects, has been “selected as the engineering firm to conduct the analysis of alternatives and feasibility assessment through a competitive bidding process,” McEwen said.

“Most dam removals over the past three decades have removed obsolete dams that no longer serve their purpose. However, we are increasingly and systematically removing functioning dams to improve and modernize other infrastructure that is much less vulnerable when they are no longer dependent on a dam,” McEwen said.

She added that in the case of the Kellogg Dam, it is important that the Highway 99E bridge crossing the city of Milwaukie not rely on the structural integrity and existence of a century-old dam as a foundation, while

Schulman noted that the bridge does not meet current ODOT seismic criteria.


In addition to the restoration of a free-flowing Kellogg’s Creek and cleared fishway, other benefits of the project include improved water quality, public access to a 14-acre nature area and 563 paid jobs and economic recovery once work on the project is underway.

Schulman said it has not yet been determined if the lake behind the dam will be removed.

“There are a lot of benefits to removing the current lake, because it’s too warm for salmon and rainbow trout, and it’s only going to get warmer as climate change sets in. But it there may be some benefits to leaving ponds/pools, for salmon to hide from predators,” he said.

“Projects like Kellogg provide a multitude of benefits to people and the environment,” McEwan said, adding that these multi-benefit projects improve quality of life and support the public in their pursuit of a happy lifestyle. , healthy and free.

As for when the actual removal of the dam might take place, Schulman said it could happen between 2025 and 28.

“It may seem like a long way, but keep in mind this is a major infrastructure project: removing a dam that was in place before Abraham Lincoln was president or Oregon became a State; replacing an aging and earthquake-prone bridge that was built in 1934 and restoring a river channel,” he said.

Schulman added, “This is an exciting community-supported project that will revitalize the city of Milwaukie. There aren’t many opportunities to remove a dam and restore a salmon stream in a downtown area. ”

Kellogg Dam Removal Project

For more information, visit the North Clackamas Watersheds Council website at Donations are always welcome.

To learn more about American Rivers, visit

Visit to learn more about this firm specializing in the investigation, design and restoration of rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands.

You rely on us to stay informed and we rely on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Comments are closed.