History of Cascade Locks Electric

History Recalled     
    The story of City Light's development is a colorful account in the depression days when the federal government constructed Bonneville Dam. Cascade Locks had been served by the now extinct West Coast Power Company which was using its own generating system. Electricty was expensive - up to 15 cents per kilowatt.
      The rise of a new power dam on their doorstep, gave the mayor, council and citizens of Cascade Locks an opportunity to change all this. But their negotiations to buy the power company didn't meet with much success. They talked of building their own power lines, which brought the threat of court injunction.

First Poles Set on a Sunday
     The city organized a volunteer crew of about 100 men, and with material at hand, on a Sunday when there was no chance of an injunction, they built a 60-pole-line for street lighting to get a "foot in the door." It was just the medicine they needed. Not long afterward, West Coast Power Company sold its holdings to the city.

First Bonneville Customer
     Cascade Locks was the first community ever served by Bonneville Dam. On May 16, 1938, the city council contracted with Bonneville Power Administration for 100 kilowatts of electricity to operate the Cascade Locks street light system. J.D. Ross, Bonneville's first administrator, threw a switch illuminating the city's 28 floodlights on Main Street less than two months later.
      In September 1938, by a vote of 141 to 16, the citizens authorized buying the power company. In addition to Cascade Locks, the system now serves a 27 mile area on the Columbia River Highway from Wyeth to Bridal Veil, which means 50 miles of primary transmission line and 10 miles of secondary transmission line.

This is an excerpt from the June-July 1969 edition of the Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin.