Section IV: Making Way for John Day
More Power will be needed by 1960 - the time to start construction is now.
Army Corps of Engineers Pamphlet, circa 1955
Construction of the John Day Dam began in July 1958. The dam completed the navigational thoroughfare from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho. The 76 mile lake behind John Day would drown out navigation hazards and provide flood control storage. Those who argued for the dam said that it would expand the economies of eastern Oregon, Washington, and western Idaho.
Only one undeveloped dam site remained on the Columbia, a proposed 350,000 kilowatt dam near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The dam was never built, and when John Day was completed in 1968, the Hanford Reach became the last stretch of wild river on the Columbia. Although nearly eighty miles from Umatilla, John Day impacted the community and the region more profoundly than any previous dam.