Wallowa Falls

Project Overview

Wallowa Falls

The 1.1.-megawatt (mw) Wallowa Falls Hydroelectric Project, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) Project No. 308, is located in Wallowa County in north east Oregon, on the East Fork Wallowa River, West Fork Wallowa River and Royal Purple Creek. The project is approximately 7 miles south of the town of Joseph near Wallowa Lake and is partially within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  

The Wallowa Falls Hydroelectric Project was initially constructed in 1921 by the Enterprise Electric Company with a generating capacity of 800 kilovolts (kVA). The original license was issued on June 27, 1924 and expired on March 31, 1974. On October 19, 1928 the Commission approved the transfer of the license to the Inland Power and Light Company. By order dated November 23, 1942, the Commission approved the transfer of the license from Inland Power and Light Company to Pacific Power and Light Company. At the time of completion, the Project replaced several small generation sources in the Wallowa Valley and was connected to an existing transmission line servicing the communities of Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine and Wallowa. By order issued April 8, 1929 the Commission amended the license to include the construction of minor Project works for the diversion of water from Royal Purple Creek. In 1967 the original generator was replaced with a new 1,375 kVA (1,100 kW) unit which is still in service.

The current license was issued January 5, 2017 for a period of 40 years and describes actions the company will take to protect bull trout and their habitat and to improve the recreational experience for visitors to the adjacent area.

Project facilities include:

  • a small concrete diversion dam and pipe, at elevation 5,838 feet on Royal Purple Creek which is a tributary to the East Fork Wallowa River;
  • a rock-filled timber crib dam, at elevation 5,795 feet on the East Fork Wallowa River;
  • a 0.2-acre forebay and 5,688-foot-long steel penstock;
  • a powerhouse containing a single generating unit with a rated capacity of 1.1 mw
  • a tailrace discharging Project flows into the West Fork Wallowa River; and,
  • a 20-foot-long, 7.2-kilovolt (kV) transmission line which connects to the local electric grid.

Recreational uses around the Project include camping, hiking, horseback riding, day-use/picnicking and fishing. PacifiCorp provides trail opportunities and manages Pacific Park, a 10-unit campground near the powerhouse tailrace on lands owned by the company.

Additional recreation facilities in the immediate vicinity of the Project include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) managed trailhead adjacent to the powerhouse, USFS managed East Fork and West Fork trails, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Little Alps State Park (day use), Wallowa Lake State Park (day use and camping), Wallowa Lake Tramway, and two private campgrounds. The little Alps State Park and a State Park maintenance facility are on lands owned by PacifiCorp and leased to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department.



Project Contacts

Russ Howison
Project Manager
825 N.E. Multnomah, Suite 1800
Portland, Oregon 97232
(503) 813-6626

Kimberly McCune
Sr. Project Coordinator
825 N.E. Multnomah, Suite 1800
Portland, Oregon 97232
(503) 813-6078