Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.Find Out More
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.Find Out More
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
Where is EWEB in planning our future electricity supply?
In August, we reached a milestone: EWEB’s five-member elected Board of Commissioners approved an action plan to guide our energy supply choices for the next 2-3 years. How did we get here?Find Out More
National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
Planning for a Future of Reliable, Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy
The challenges revealed by Eugene Water & Electric Board’s integrated resource planning process mirror those facing the Northwest.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
EWEB’s heat driven call to conserve energy yields major savings
EWEB is likely to implement similar, formalized “demand response” programs in the future.Find Out More
Please join your neighbors in reducing energy use today
With excessive temperatures and wildfire conditions affecting power generation across the region, EWEB is encouraging customers to safely conserve power.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet our servant leader and maker of tough decisions
Karen Kelley, Chief Operations Officer at EWEB, describes herself as a "servant leader," offering support and mentoring to four division managers at EWEB.Find Out More
Planning for a Reliable, Affordable, Green Energy Future
EWEB General Manager Frank Lawson publishes an op-ed in the Eugene Weekly about EWEB's IRP.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet the woman responsible for managing our wholesale energy agreements to ensure we meet our customers energy needs
Megan Capper, the Energy Resource Manager at EWEB, began her career working in economics at BPA before joining the power planning department EWEB, ensuring we can meet the energy needs of our our customers today, tomorrow and 20 years from now.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
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Currin Substation - the origin of the name
June 23, 2023 • Robyn Smith, EWEB Communications
In February, after EWEB announced the plan for demolition and reconstruction of the Currin Substation near Garden Way and Interstate 105, the utility received a call from a concerned local historian. Dana Merryday with the Cottage Grove Historical Society asked, "Will Currin remain the name of the substation?"
The answer is yes. The reconstruction of the 60-year-old station will improve future electric reliability and meet modern infrastructure standards, but the name will remain the same. Merryday, relieved to hear the news, imparted the origin of the substation's namesake – Currin.
The Oregon frontier
The Currin family were Irish immigrants that came to America before the Revolutionary War. The sons of Major George Currin, who owned land in Tazewell, Virginia, had migrated to Missouri but found the climate "unhealthy." They were heading for Texas when they read letters that praised the Oregon territory. That changed their minds, and they formed a wagon train headed west.
John and William Currin settled in Cottage Grove with donation land claims in 1852. In the 1860s, sons of George's brother, Wadsworth (Waddy) Currin, joined the brothers in Cottage Grove. Waddy's son, James Knox Polk Currin (JP), was one of three members of the first graduating class from what is now Oregon State University, and he became an influential businessman in Cottage Grove. JP wore many hats, known for his work as a surveyor, pioneer druggist, schoolteacher, merchant, and civic leader.
"In Oregon's frontier, everyone did what needed to be done, and some made it up as they went along, which is why JP had a number of different enterprises," said Merryday.
The J. Polk Currin Swinging Bridge
In 1900 with Cottage Grove expanding, JP devised a way to connect the town divided by the Coast Fork of the Willamette River by constructing a wooden footbridge. On one side was his drugstore; on the other, he created what was known as Currin Park. JP later donated the footbridge to the city and subdivided the park into residential lots.
The original bridge was simple – an uncovered wooden trestle footbridge. Over time it rotted. Numerous repairs convinced the City Fathers that a suspension bridge would be less maintenance. In 1917 the bridge moved downstream to its present location. A Halloween cutting prank and the 1964 Christmas Flood took out two bridge versions. Rot in the towers closed the Swinging Bridge again in 2016 due to safety concerns. Merryday and others as the "Friends of the Swinging Bridge" led the charge for its resurrection. Now, the new J. Polk Currin Swinging Bridge stands firmly over the river with steel towers – not wood, a bridge for the ages.
Hugh Currin – EWEB Engineer
JP Currin and his wife, Amelia, had a son, Hugh, and a daughter, Lula. Both children graduated from the University of Oregon and picked up occupations influenced by their entrepreneurial father. Lula became a prominent and long-time high school teacher in Cottage Grove, and Hugh became an engineer.
Hugh worked in Alaska as a plant operator for a mining company and as an electrician for the Eastern Oregon Light and Power Company before he returned to the Willamette Valley and was hired as an engineer at EWEB in 1923. Later, he became the chief engineer for the utility.
Hugh was an engineer for EWEB at a time when the city of Eugene was rapidly expanding, and demand for electric reliability and system redundancy was growing. Hugh helped EWEB prepare for the Walterville Plant enlargement by designing substation equipment to handle the increased generation capacity. He was also influential in the design of the Leaburg dam's gate controls and Eugene's electric distribution system.
After Hugh's three-decade career with EWEB, he retired in 1952, and in the years following, the utility named a new substation for the veteran engineer – the Currin Substation.
Currin Substation update
The rebuilt Currin substation will contribute to improved future reliability by minimizing the frequency of outages resulting from equipment failure or routine maintenance. The substation's new design will also meet modern earthquake standards for infrastructure to withstand the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake better. The foundations will be larger and deeper so that equipment mounted on them won't overturn or slide during an earthquake.
Crews have finished the site demolition and are now pouring concrete for the new foundation. The station's transformer, which "steps down" high voltage power to distribution levels for homes and businesses, will be welded to a steel plate on top of the foundation. This structural design will provide the desired seismic protection for the substation.
The $14.8 million rebuild project is scheduled to finish in the spring of 2024. Another nine substations will follow in the next decade, as outlined in EWEB's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan for major infrastructure investments to rehabilitate and replace aging infrastructure.
Dana Merryday is a Cottage Grove Historical Society member and on the Cottage Grove Museum Board—special thanks to the Cottage Grove Genealogical Society for the information found on the Currin family.