Bye Bye Dam, Hello Fish | Editorial | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Opinion » Editorial

Bye Bye Dam, Hello Fish



Next Monday, Sept. 8, the process begins to remove the final remaining concrete dam on Whychus Creek, a narrow waterway that traces north past Sisters and pours into the upper Deschutes River. The project has been spearheaded by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and, explains Mathias Perle, Project Manager for the organization, will re-open 13 miles of spawning area for Chinook salmon, steelhead and trout.

The dam removal adds to a growing list of removed dams and restored rivers—projects that are providing more equitable irrigation possibilities for farmers and greater spawning grounds for salmon. Again and again, removal of the small dams throughout the region has proven to be a win-win solution for farmers, residents, animal life and ecosystems.

Earlier this summer, I rafted down the White Salmon River in Washington, a stretch of river re-opened in 2011 when the Conduit Dam was removed. (There is a remarkable time-lapse video on Vimeo of the rapid change.) The resulting benefits to the area's ecosystem over the past three years have been amazing: Wildlife has returned to the area, including thousands of salmon using the waterway to spawn. Likewise, removing the dam on Whychus Creek will open migratory access to 13 miles of upstream habitat along with keeping fish in the creek. Moreover, explains Perle from the Deschutes Watershed Council, fish habitat for redband trout, steelhead trout and Chinook salmon will be improved greatly by implementing a 170-acre floodplain restoration in the vicinity of what is soon to be a former dam.

"Other than the amount of work involved, no," says Perle about any potential downsides. "Everyone wins with this project: the ranch owner via an upgraded and more efficient irrigation system; the fish with passage and screening, improved habitat and restored stream flow; and, the ecosystem as a whole with improved stream function through floodplain connectivity."

Like many debates over waterway usage, the Whychus Creek has multiple persons and interests, like a rancher who relies on the creek for irrigation. But what is impressive about this—and other dam removals—is that increasingly it is evident that everyone, not just the fish and wildlife, can gain from removing dams and restoring free-flowing rivers. In this case, the rancher will gain late season in-stream flows.

For all of the patient and truly collaborative work, this week we give a Glass Slipper to the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, and a solid Wrecking Ball for their use.

And we hope that perhaps the City of Bend and Bend Park & Recreation can find a blueprint from their work to move forward the stalled plans for removing the decrepit Newport Dam (which creates Mirror Pond) in a manner that can benefit as many interested parties (including wildlife) as possible, as opposed to pitting the issue as a pond versus river debate.

Reflecting on the process to reach the dam removal, Perle explains, "The most rewarding has been the relationships and trust that have been established." He continued, "The most challenging thing would be the patience and perseverance to work through over five years of meetings discussing different alternatives to find a solution that worked for all parties involved; a solution where all partners were getting something positive out of the project, something they could be proud to be a part of."

Hats off to the Deschutes Watershed Council for its patience and steering toward a win-win solution.


Thanks, Source, for another great article! While reading this, all I could think of was the correlation with all religions—they are all man-made cults created to control people with fear and manipulation. Sad, really, that due to religion we have the most horrific things going on in the world. Perhaps one day, people will finally realize that it's all a big story and that we would be so much better off without it. This story was insightful and yet there's irony there.


One (possibly two!) gutter hippies with a long beard seen sifting through the dregs of Hutch's bicycle shop hardly seems to necessitate any city-wide alarm, let alone a "top story" for Bend. I haven't read the Source Weekly for several months, and this was a great reminder of why. I shall gleefully continue to burn this crap in my woodstove all winter long. Keep up the good work!

—Chris Haindel

I hesitate to even waste my time replying to a third rate media source such as this paper, but the article my neighbor turned me onto about the brothers is inaccurate, hurtful and unfair.

I do know the brothers and I feel fortunate that I even got the opportunity to get to know them and I know many other people in Bend would say the same thing. They have stopped by my place, sometimes for months at a time off and on over the past five years, and for some lady starving for attention to make these claims and comparisons to vile cults is libel, slander and defamation. She claims she saw a man with a "beard and tunic-style shirt." Immediately, the next line is claiming he's a "Brother"—a member of a cult. Within a couple paragraphs the brothers are being compared to pedophiles, The Rajneeshees who poisoned 700 people, starvation cults, some "athletic" cult that sexually abused and murdered children and the Church of Scientology. If that wasn't enough slander, the writer went ahead and included some guy, Jim Jones, that poisoned 909 members, 300 of whom were children. All this based on some lady driving down Third Street that saw a man with a beard and a tunic-style shirt. Well, I saw someone the other day with tattoos, and tattoos on their neck, they must have murdered someone and spent years in prison where they probably attempted to rape individuals every day and everyone should be warned to be on the lookout for people with tattoos and tattoos on their neck.

Maybe the lady in this story did spend some time with a group, but I have never heard of any of these brothers that I know well spending time in Hawaii. The brothers that have been in Bend off and on over the past five years often take on a Biblical name, which she makes no claim about either. I would say about 20 percent of this article is accurate; which again, for a third rate Source, is pretty good. I don't know where I am going to go from here, but for this lady to make these claims against the brothers in Bend is inaccurate, hurtful and unfair. She very well might have traveled with a group, but it was not the same group that these souls were part of.

Here is a more accurate write up of the brothers that have been in Bend. This is taken from an article ["How to Live Simply: Inside the Minds of Isla Vistas Minimalists" (5/7)] written in The Bottom Line at UC Santa Barbara.

I don't mean to be rude about your paper, but this article is just unfair and completely inaccurate and there should be a correction made.


Editor's note: If you read closely, you'll see that we did not compare the Brethren to the other cults you mentioned, but rather included them as a an example of groups that fit the popular perception of a "cult." The Brethren, on the contrary, do not appear to engage in any form of sexual exploitation, mass suicide, or violence of any kind. The characterizations of the group are based on the experiences of the former group members we interviewed (not all of whom were ultimately quoted in the article) and those featured in Evangeline Griego's 2010 documentary God Willing. Certainly, if the brothers you know and admire are interested in being interviewed, we would happily share their side of the story.


Jim Anderson's article on the disappearance of Lake Abert is absolutely correct in its information. The lake is drying up Mr. Carey, and it is due to the loss of fresh-water inflow. I provided Mr. Anderson with the facts. The article claims that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was responsible due to its interest in reducing its need for freshwater diversion improvement and money in the rearing of Great Basin red band trout to be released in the Chewaucan river above Paisley, Ore. If Mr. Carey were to read the article written by Karen Shimamoto and Rabe Consulting (Dairy, Ore.) for their report entitled "Paisley Town Weir Project" published in 2004, he would find that this activity was done to provide the red band trout better access to the upper Chewaucan river fishery waters.  In addition, he could read about the Restoration and Enhancement Board's action in Springfield, Ore., on Feb. 24, 2006, for the approval of a project to aid removal of a 15-foot-high barrier on the Chewaucan river near Paisley for opening the river for 50 miles of habitat for red band trout. The total contribution given by this organization for this project was $1.3 million. I have more data, which I can send to Mr. Carey like I did for Gov. Kitzhaber if he wishes to be informed (that is, if he wants to know more about Lake Abert's ecosystem as I did.) For George P. Keister's ODFW special report on Lake Abert's ecosystem published April 1992—see Google search.

—Frank Conte


I do believe it's time for the folks who run this place I call home to consider that they are garnering a not so nice reputation. I am well aware that there is always another side to every story, another perception, and a larger view but the city continues to step on toes. This town is not what it is because of the city council. It's the people who dare to open a small business, who have a vision and take the leap.  It's the tourists who come to cherish this place and come back over and over. It's that epic mountain and its sisters up the street we are so lucky to be near. It's the folks who have been here FOREVER and rein us in with the occasional reality check as they see their little gem change too much. The city managers and council members have done a fairly good job creating infrastructure around these successes and reaching out to the community for collective feedback. But their failures will always be louder than their successes, and lately I've seen and heard many balls dropped. I suggest those entering the race for city council be VERY clear about their vision for Bend. Get out in front of this! Get radically clear on your intentions and how you plan to follow through with them and then TELL US! Have the Source do a simple, clear spread on what you are for and against, what your long-term visions are, what you would like to correct and sustain. Endorsements are nice, but I'd love to see a clear showing of our candidates. This town will always be on the verge of going too far in any number of directions. Our votes matter here and make a quick impact on what we see and experience (Bond passing = could we have a more awesome Parks Dept.?)  Let's fully participate, open our eyes, and get clear. I have a feeling this next election is going to make a huge difference. Sink or swim, people!


Add a comment

More by The Source Staff