Officials in Willamettes County say they are hopeful that a $1 million project to build micro-and nano-dockers at three of the county’s five dams will increase the number and number of people using the area.
The county Board of Supervisors voted last month to issue a permit for the project to the Multidisciplinary Association for Engineers and Technologists, or MITE.
It was the first of three phases that the company has been working on to upgrade the dams that contain water from the Columbia River, which carries much of the nation’s drinking water.
The permits to build the micro- and nano-reservoirs come on the heels of an agreement between the county and the state of Oregon to create a micro-reserve for the county that will have a cap of 50 million gallons, a cap that will be lifted in 2018, according to county spokesman Chris Pramas.
Pramas said the county plans to use the micro and nano dams as a “testbed” to see if micro-hydro dams work better than traditional dams, which are often built for larger dams.
The county hopes to have more micro-micro and nano reservoirs built by 2022, and then the full micro-millennium by 2022.
“I think that’s a pretty exciting step forward,” said Willametam County Supervisor Mark Krasner, who is the county executive.
“We are looking forward to seeing how the micro/micro and nan project performs and if there are any negative impacts that come out of it.”
In addition to the micro reservoir, the county also wants to increase the size of micro/nan reservoirs to 25 million gallons in the future.
Krasner said the micro reservoirs will help ease traffic and make the county safer.
“We want to make it more appealing to folks who are looking for a place to stay, because we know they are going to be looking for places to stay,” Krasnier said.
“So I think we are going in the right direction.”
In 2017, the Willamett Valley was the second-most congested county in Oregon.
In the first four months of this year, there were nearly 6,000 accidents, more than twice the number in any other four-month period, according a county traffic study.
In 2016, there was an increase in crashes of over 50 percent over the previous year.
The micro-Reserve is funded by a $10 million grant from the state and the county.
The micro-residential reservoir is also funded by $10.3 million in grants from the Oregon Department of Transportation and $10,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The nano-residentium is funded in part by $2.3 billion in federal stimulus funds from the federal government.
A micro reservoir will also provide additional water for the Willams’ water supply and for the local economy, said county Manager Steve Blevins.
“The micro reservoirs are going for the things that are really important for the community to have,” Blevin said.