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A History of The North Pacific Division

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The history of the North Pacific Division of the Army Corps of Engineers encompasses vast regions and massive projects. It includes the three western states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, the western watershed of Montana, and the far northwestern State of Alaska - a region unto itself. The time period moves from the era of sailing ships waiting to cross the perilous bar at the Columbia Rivers mouth to the present age with barges and tankers carrying hatchery fingerlings downstream past modern, multipurpose dams on the Snake and Columbia waterways. This history is not an attempt to document completely all important activities and influences of the Corps of Engineers in this part of the United States rather I have selected those themes and projects that represent turning points or serve as examples of new policies and directions in water resource development. A comprehensive history of individual projects can be found in each districts history. The book has two purposes. First, it describes the internal development of the Division from the creation of its first small office in San Francisco in 1901 to the establishment of a modern organization of over 400 employees housed in an impressive granite building in Portland. Second, it examines the role of the Division in the historical development of the region. It is impossible to understand Pacific Northwest history without a knowledge of the policies and activities of the Federal Government in the area and the major impact the areas abundant water resources have had in the development of shipping, hydroelectric power, and recreation. I hope this history helps in this understanding. Viewed from one perspective, the North Pacific Division represents four districts Portland, Seattle, Walla Walla, and Alaska. It should be noted that the Division is an administrative headquarters and that its districts are largely responsible for the numerous water resource projects in their own areas.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Civil Engineering
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Water Pollution and Control

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