Sams Valley

Project overview

Pacific Power is always working to provide safe, reliable electric service to our customers, and to support the needs of the region. As part of this commitment to reinforce the transmission system in southern Oregon, Pacific Power has proposed a new 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from the existing Grants Pass Substation in Josephine County, near Grants Pass, Oregon, to a new substation in Jackson County, Oregon, north of Medford. The proposed transmission line will be approximately 18 miles in length, and would be a double circuit line to carry the existing 115-kV line and the new 230-kV line on new poles or structures. The new double circuit line will replace the existing Grants Pass to Lone Pine 115-kV transmission line. As part of the Project, Pacific Power would also reconductor a portion (approximately 4.7 miles) of the existing 230 kV Grants Pass-Meridian line between the new substation and Whetstone Substation, as well as install new equipment within the Grants Pass Substation to accommodate the termination of the new transmission line.

The new line will benefit customers and the local communities by enhancing the overall operating flexibility and security of the regional electricity transmission grid. The additional line will help meet new power demands due to regional growth, and provide system reliability to reduce the possibility of large-scale load dropping in Medford, Grants Pass and Crescent City in the event of an outage.

Fact Sheet and Map

Environmental assessment

Because the proposed transmission line crosses public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the company has asked the BLM to amend the existing right-of-way grant so that the new transmission line can be built across BLM administered lands. The BLM decision to approve or deny the company's request constitutes a federal action, and requires the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a cooperating agency, as the proposed new substation would impact wetlands and therefore requires a 401/404 wetland removal/fill permit, this process also triggers compliance with NEPA. The EA is now available for your review on the BLM website.

The BLM is the lead federal agency for the NEPA review process.

The BLM’s decision will only address the area that crosses BLM land. The BLM does not have jurisdiction to authorize any actions on non-federal lands. A number of other local or state level permits and approvals will be necessary to construct the project, including, but not limited to, Jackson County land use approval for development of the new substation. Additional right-of-way easements will also be required for the remaining portions of the project that cross privately owned land. These other permits and approvals are outside of the BLM’s jurisdiction and are therefore outside the scope of the EA and will not be authorized or otherwise affected by the BLM’s decision under NEPA.

Pacific Power understands the importance of developing this project in coordination with residents and property owners in areas where the project will cross private lands, and is committed to working to minimize impacts to the community and the environment from project development, construction and maintenance.

Please check this website periodically for updated information.

Project timeline

  • Public outreach begins – 2015 – Ongoing
  • Initial biological & cultural surveys for use in NEPA process – Summer – Fall 2015
  • Federal & other approvals – Late 2015 – Early 2017
  • Construction start – Late 2017
  • Project in service – 2019


Updated March 29, 2017