Warren Falls story airs October 25th on Oregon Field Guide!

The Magnificent Seven ready to head to Warren Falls on May 12

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you may remember this article from last spring. This earlier article documents the field shoot at Warren Falls for a story on OPB’s Oregon Field Guide.

The segment finally airs this week at the following times on Oregon Public Broadcasting:

• Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:30pm

• Sunday, Oct 28 at 6:30pm (repeat)

After the story airs, it will be viewable on the Oregon Field Guide website:

OFG Warren Falls Episode

Vince and Michael at work along Warren Creek

Thanks go out to Vince Patton and Michael Bendixen, the brave OFG crew who made a couple of trips to Warren Falls to capture the story. Along the way they braved an ice storm, waded through knee-deep poison oak, dodged cliffs and dangled beneath the huge “trash rack” that covers the top of the Warren Falls diversion. They are true adventurers to the core!

The crew spent two separate days on site, and captured what should be some very intriguing views of the Warren Falls diversion structure — including that glimpse under the weir, looking into the tunnel. The video from our earlier, icy winter trip should be interesting, with some surprises, I suspect.

OFG shooting at the base of Warren Falls last May (Photo: Adam Sawyer)

ODOT continues to move forward toward construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail segment from Starvation Creek to Warren Falls, so stay tuned! I’ll continue to post information on the effort to restore the falls on the blog, as well as on the Restore Warren Falls Facebook page:

Restore Warren Falls on Facebook

3 thoughts on “Warren Falls story airs October 25th on Oregon Field Guide!

  1. Well, I watched the episode last night. Nice of OFG to bump you to last! But the story was well-told, the photography was outstanding, and I think you made your case pretty well for the restoration of the falls.

    I found the comments of the ODOT people a little interesting, but then I realized being a part of that department would tend to make them more interested in the engineering aspect of Hole-in-the Wall Falls. However, if their argument was to preserve that historic feat of engineering, in my opinion it falls short in three important ways:

    1. The re-directed falls were only one part of that diversion. All the other features — the flume, and much of the historic highway and old railroad grade it protected — were removed without fanfare. If they weren’t deemed important enough to protect, what’s so special about the rest of the project?

    2. The Historic Highway was finished in 1916, the Warren Falls diversion wasn’t built until 1939, and the highway was abandoned about a decade later. Thus, for most of the Historic Highway’s functional existence (1916-1939), Warren Falls was a roadside feature of the highway. If you want the highest level of historical accuracy, you need Warren Falls.

    3. As you’ve noted, the diversion grate is in poor shape, and will probably fail in a few more decades. Then Warren Falls will eventually restore itself, but possibly in ways that could damage the State Trail they are about to spend millions building.

    Finally, I thought your argument centering on what should be the values of the Scenic Area was the most compelling. While this may not be a priority for ODOT, the land managers should still adhere to the principles behind the Scenic Area act and insist that ODOT undo their alteration of the Gorge landscape.

    Sadly, though, the lack of available dollars may end up trumping all these arguments, although ODOT has been capable of some creative re-distribution of funds in the past and also obscene amounts of waste. If you want proof, go to the Eugene Register-Guard website and read their recent series on the US 20 project in the Coast Range.

    Sorry for the long remark; feel free to edit it for display if you like. And keep up the effort, Tom. I know it seems like a “long shot,” but I think if enough people hear this story, you will find that most people are supportive of bringing Warren Falls back.


  2. Thanks, Chris – excellent comments, and I’ve of like mind, of course. On your second point, I would expand that argument to say that Sam Lancaster would NEVER have “moved” a waterfall to make room for his road. Instead, he would have modified the road design to best fit nature — that’s the true genius of his road. So, like you, I see the Warren Falls diversion as a botched job completely at odds with what the HCRH is all about.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts – much appreciated!



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