Link River Dam

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Link River Dam
File:Link river dam complex.jpeg
The Link River Dam complex.
Location Klamath Falls, U.S.
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Construction began July 29, 1920
Opening date October 29, 1921
Owner(s) PacifiCorp
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity dam
Impounds Link River
Height 7 m (23 ft)
Length 113 metres (371 ft)
Spillway capacity 85 m3/s (3,002 cu ft/s)
Creates Klamath Lake
Total capacity 1.1 km3 (890,000 acre·ft)
Max. water depth 18 m (59 ft)
Power station
Turbines 2
Installed capacity 151 MW

The Link River Dam is a concrete dam on the Link River in the city of Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was built in 1921 by the California Oregon Power Co. The dam was built to control the water level of Klamath Lake in order to maximize power production. Water stored behind the dam also supplies most of the water used for irrigation in the Klamath Reclamation Project.

The Link River Dam diverts water to two hydroelectric power plants located downstream. The two turbines are part of a group of seven projects, supplying 151 MW for PacifiCorp. PacifiCorp recently[citation needed] announced the Link River power projects will be abandoned as the cost to repair the canal and pipeline supplying the power turbines is too high to be economically viable.

The dam itself is 22 feet (7 m) high and 435 feet (133 m) long. It can allow an outflow of 3,000 ft³/s (85 m³/s) with 1,000 ft³/s (28 m³/s) through the Ankeny Canal (seen in the photograph), 290 ft³/s (8 m³/s) through the Keno Canal, and the rest being dumped down the Link River into Lake Ewauna. The two canals serve PacifiCorp's hydroelectric turbines before flowing back into the river.

Link River Dam's reservoir, Klamath Lake, has a capacity of 873,000 acre feet (1.077×109 m3).


Link River Dam May 1938

In 1878, five years after the Modoc Wars, residents of Linkville formed the "Linkville Water Ditch Company." They dug a low capacity canal that connected their homes with the Link River. William Steele extended the ditch by 15 miles in 1884. After his death in 1888 the Klamath Falls Irrigation Company took over the canal. It is now known as the Ankeny Canal.

Charles and Rufus Moore dug a canal on the other side of the Link River in 1877 to power a sawmill and transport logs from Upper Klamath Lake. This later became known as the Keno Canal.

On February 24, 1917, officials from the USBR and the California-Oregon Power Company reached an agreement to lease the Keno Canal for ten years at a rate of $1000 per annum. The agreement also allowed the power company to regulate the outflows of Klamath Lake.

The California-Oregon Power company placed a temporary low-crib dam near what is now Putnam's Point in 1919. Construction began on the dam on July 29, 1920.

Senator George E. Chamberlain of Oregon telegraphed Secretary of the Interior John B. Payne on August 20, 1920, requesting he halt dam construction long enough to determine the legality of the 1917 contract. Payne issued a supplemental contract on December 10, and California-Oregon Power restarted construction on May 15, 1921, finishing it on October 29.

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