“Bend will have electric lights in the near future. A. M. Drake has fully decided to put in a dam and power plant and will supply the town with the long desired electric system.” The decision was made to dam the river and bring power to Bend.
The dam, spillway, and power house you see today were built in four phases. The first phase of construction started in the summer of 1909 and was completed in the fall of 1910. This phase included the original wooden powerhouse and rock fill dam, and rock-crib spillway that remains today. It was during this phase of construction that the people of Bend realized that a “remarkably beautiful pond will result from the dam’s completion, which, situated directly beside the town, will add a notable feature to Bend’s list of attractions.”
The “benefit” of the dam
By law, all surface and ground water in Oregon belongs to the public. The Water Resources Department is the state agency charged with administration of the laws governing surface and ground water resources. The Department’s core functions are to protect existing water rights, facilitate voluntary streamflow restoration, increase the understanding of the demands on the state’s water resources, provide accurate and accessible water resource data, and facilitate water supply solutions.