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Crews Blast Hole In Condit Dam, Reservoir Draining

WHITE SALMON, Wash. – The detonation of 700 pounds of dynamite breached an aging hydropower dam on the White Salmon River near the Columbia Gorge Wednesday. Here was the reaction of onlookers a short distance away.

Sound: cheers

Columbia Gorge artist and activist Daniel Dancer estimates he’s been agitating for Condit dam’s removal to revive salmon runs for 19 years.

Daniel Dancer: “It was like experiencing the resurrection. Literally, it was the second coming of the river because it was free again. It was blocked for a hundred years. So literally it was the second coming.”

While Dancer celebrated, other area residents held what they called a wake for the century old dam. The hole blown in Condit Dam drained a reservoir that many families favored for boating and fishing. Pacific Power is tearing down this dam because demolition is far cheaper than adding the fish ladders necessary to get an operating license renewal. The project has been in the works nearly as long as a similar dam removal underway on the Elwha River on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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