The Bonneville as a Source of Limitless Power and Expansion

From End of My Line

Milk my cows and turn my stone,
Till the Bonneville folks they come along.

My eyes are crossed, my back's in a cramp,
Tryin' to read my bible by my coal-oil lamp.

Oregon state is mighty fine,
If you're hooked on to the power line.

-Woody Guthrie Roll On Columbia "The Columbia River Collection"

*In 1939, construction of high-voltage lines from Grand Coulee to North Bonneville, created the world's largest single source of electricity at that time.

J.D. Ross, first Bonneville Power Administrator 1937-39:
"Bonneville Dam... combined with the great Grand Coulee development will comprise the greatest system for hydro-electric power in the world... The efficient and economic functioning of these great dams will prove conclusively that hydroelectric power is cheaper and more efficient than steam power... A great river is a coal mine that never thins out. It is an oil well that never runs dry. The Columbia River will flow through he Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams... as long as rain falls and water flows downhill to the sea" (Springer, 1976).

Mayor La Guardia of New York City 1936:
"Now electricity is no longer a luxury. It's a necessary of life...And it means so much to the family. I wonder how many of the utility barons realize what it means that they should have a monopoly on this necessary of life. With cheap power it is possible to...take the drudgery right out of house-keeping. "It means the end of drudgery. It means more happiness in the home. And more happiness means less divorce. Cheap power will eliminate costly divorces."
-"Bonneville Project" New York Times April 24, 1936

Ivan Bloch, BPA marketing expert, 1940s:
"The people here will mesh their assets and their strength and wage a united fight to expand the tremendous industrial potential out of the Columbia River Valley. The West must make its voice heard now rather than take it lying down, against the danger of the East. It must work together to abolish the wanton old system by which the West ships raw materials three thousand miles East, then gets the finished products from those materials shipped back three thousand miles" (Springer, 1976).

From Columbia Talkin' Blues

Water come a splashing through the dam,
Trickling out across the land;
Power house sings and th’ generator whines,
And down the hill comes a big power line.
'Lectricity runnin all around... Cheaper than rainwater.

-Woody Guthrie Roll On Columbia “The Columbia River Collection”

*Today, about 60% of power in the Northwest region is generated by dams.

(Northwest Energy Coalition Web Page, )

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