Nine days without power: My ice storm story as an EWEB customer and employee
While beautiful and peaceful, buying a home on the edge of the forest and surrounded by trees has its tradeoffs. Moving “upriver,” I knew there would be more threats to prepare for, including Mother Nature’s seasonal surprises.Find Out More
EWEB achieves power restoration milestone over the weekend
Crews have so far restored power for 92% of customers who originally lost power at the height of the ice storm.Find Out More
Reenergized McKenzie River Valley transmission lines allow EWEB crews to restore power upriver
On Friday, a majority of EWEB crews tackled power restoration efforts upriver, after federally managed transmission lines were reenergized Thursday.Find Out More
EWEB estimates one week to complete power system restoration
On Wednesday, EWEB crews restored power for about 10,000 customers by repairing large equipment first.Find Out More
Second round of ice and ensuing thaw prompt mass power outages
On Wednesday, all EWEB crews, who have been working nonstop since Saturday, traversed EWEB’s service territory assessing the damage and restoring transmission lines and main power feeders.Find Out More
Power restored at EWEB’s water treatment plant
Crews restored electric power at EWEB's Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant Monday evening, allowing operators to switch off the generators and rely again on the grid. Meanwhile, EWEB crews brace for additional outages amidst second round of ice and during the coming thaw.Find Out More
EWEB crews making downed lines safe and restoring power across Eugene and the foothills
As EWEB works to restore electric service to customers affected by the ice storm, the customer-owned utility is following established policies and its “hierarchy of repair” to prioritize repairs that restore electric service to the greatest number of customers.Find Out More
Leaburg Decommissioning Action Plan
Plan details next steps through regulatory processes to begin dismantling Leaburg Dam by 2032.Find Out More
What’s ahead in 2024: General manager’s message to EWEB customer-owners
At the start of the new year, we back at accomplishments from 2023 and look ahead at what's to come in 2024.Find Out More
Start the New Year saving money with energy saving tips
We know that saving money is important to our customers. Using energy and water wisely is a great way to reduce your monthly utility bill, even as the costs of electricity and water rise. EWEB has several steps you can take to reduce your usage and even make your home feel more comfortable.Find Out More
Currin Substation: End of year update
EWEB Engineer Philip Peterson explains what's been happening in the final stretch to complete the substation rebuild.Find Out More
EWEB 2023 year in review
In 2023, EWEB invested in our community with grants, rebates and an array of other programs and measures aimed at fulfilling our core values of safety, reliability, affordability, environmental responsibility and community/culture.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
Let's talk turkey. If a disaster strikes, is your family ready?
Many of us avoid discussing politics over the dinner table in the spirit of family peace and harmony. But here's a topic that can bring everyone together: emergency preparedness.Find Out More
EWEB To Hold First of Two Public Hearings on Proposed 2024 Budget and Prices
At the Nov. 7 Board of Commissioners meeting, EWEB staff will present a proposed budget that includes rate increases necessary to support utility operations and make needed infrastructure investments.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.