It was a long and busy week. Here we are in our volunteer vests, working at the Willamette Falls Locks, in Oregon City, southeast of Portland. There was a family reunion there Saturday, and since the Corps of Engineers owns the locks, which are now closed for repair, someone from the Corps had to be there. We got to go along for the ride and help out. Don’t we look official?
The reason the picnic was at the locks was due to the fact that the original family member who came to the US in 1888 from Denmark had worked there. There was a woman from the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation who gave tours of the locks and another Corps volunteer who manned the historical museum. They were a wealth of knowledge about the history of the area. The falls were the first in the country to be used to produce long distance electrical transmission in 1889, even before Niagara Falls. There are 2 paper mills adjacent to the locks, so the area is very industrial.
We also took a defensive driving course so we can drive the Corps vehicles, and Friday we rode with Jennifer to all the Corps areas along the river on both the Oregon and Washington side to read the traffic counters at each of the recreation areas. They get funding based on use, so they keep track of how many vehicles pass over the counters every month.
Next week we have to take a safety course, and we are going to get hard hat tours of the dam and powerhouse. We have yet to visit the fish hatchery or take the tours at the visitors center, but we will get there one of these days.
We have managed to do a little hiking in between. There is a beautiful trail to Wahclella Falls just a short distance from the Bonneville Dam entrance. We are still having highs in the 90’s but in the morning and evening it is pleasant enough to get out, and the trails are shaded, so it hasn't been too bad.