EWEB's historical timeline
1906: A typhoid epidemic, traced to the private water system, spurs citizen support
for a public takeover of the private utility.
1908: Eugene voters approve $300,000 in bonds to purchase the private water system.
1911: The Walterville Power Plant is built, primarily to pump McKenzie River water
to Eugene. The city transfers control of the system to the citizen-led Eugene Water
Board. The Eugene Water Board meets for the first time on March 11, 1911.
1916: The Board purchases the private Oregon Power Company.
1930: The Leaburg Power Plant begins operations following completion of Leaburg
Dam and Powerhouse on the McKenzie River.
1931: Construction begins on the McClain Water Filtration Plant, just west of the
existing Steam Plant. The filtration plant pumped and treated water from the Willamette River for more than
30 years before its demolition in 1963.
1933: The utility begins providing free electric ranges to all Eugene schools to
promote use of electricity.
1949: The utility’s name is changed to the Eugene Water & Electric Board.
1950: Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant begins full operation.
1954: Voters reject a plan to build a dam at Beaver Marsh on the upper McKenzie
River because of environmental concerns. Five years later, voters approve construction
of the Carmen-Smith project nearby.
1962: The Columbus Day storm destroys power lines throughout EWEB’s service area.
Working around the clock, employees restore all power within five days.
1963: Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Plant begins operations with a generating capacity of
1964: Voters approve fluoridation of EWEB’s water.
1965: In September, voters reverse course and approve a measure banning the use
of fluoride in drinking water. In the late 1970s, voters again approve, then reject
fluoridation, of the water.
1970: Eugene voters approve a moratorium on construction by EWEB of any nuclear
1976: EWEB’s strong commitment to conservation begins in earnest with the “Triple
E” energy-efficiency program. More than 42,000 Eugene homes have been weatherized
since then under various residential conservation programs.
1977: The first energy-conservation department is established, reflecting EWEB’s
growing commitment to energy efficiency. EWEB began devoting up to 5 percent of retail revenues to conservation
programs in 1997.
1980: EWEB assigns its share of the Trojan nuclear power plant to the Bonneville
Power Administration. This move proves to be enormously beneficial financially,
sparing EWEB customers the high costs associated with operating Trojan and its eventual
shutdown in the early 1990s.
1982: EWEB replaces every mercury-vapor street light in Eugene with energy-efficient,
high-pressure sodium lamps.
1985: Jean Reeder becomes the first woman to lead EWEB after being hired as general manager.
1986: EWEB begins its Energy Share program to help low-income customers cope with
high electric bills. The program was substantially expanded in 2001 and renamed
"Customer Care" in 2006 to reflect the range of assistance that is available
to low-income customers.
1990: EWEB’s water is recognized as the “Best Tasting Water in the Pacific Northwest”
in a regional contest.
1994: EWEB and other utilities open The Energy Outlet in downtown Eugene to provide
citizens with information about energy-efficient appliances, products and services.
1997: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicenses EWEB’s Leaburg and Walterville
hydroelectric projects. In 2002, EWEB launches more than $40 million in improvements
to the facilities to meet relicensing requirements.
1999: In partnership with PacifiCorp, EWEB opens its first wind farm, Foote Creek
Rim in southeastern Wyoming.
2001: The second-worst drought in 100 years, California’s failed deregulation effort
and market manipulation by energy-trading companies creates a West Coast supply
crisis, driving up wholesale energy prices. EWEB commissioners approve the largest
single electric rate increase in history.
2002: In February, the worst windstorm since the Columbus Day storm 40 years earlier
knocks out power to a third of EWEB’s 83,000 customers. More than 1,000 trees fall,
many across power lines. Crews work around the clock, restoring power in six days.
2003: EWEB completes a new 15-million-gallon water reservoir at Hayden Bridge, expanding
the treatment plant’s ability to process water from the McKenzie.
2008: EWEB breaks ground on its Roosevelt Operations Center in west Eugene.
2010: EWEB moves into the Roosevelt Operations Center, which houses about half of the