NEAR COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- With more rain on the way next week, the Army Corps of Engineers are releasing water from their thirteen reservoirs along the Willamette River Basin.
Residents immediately downriver of Dexter, Dorena and Fern Ridge dams may see water levels exceed bankfull levels.
Dustin Bengtson is the deputy operation project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers of the Willamette Valley. He says the Dorena Resevoir is 70 percent full.
"We need to release water and gain back some of that storage in our reservoirs with the anticipated storms coming over the next week," said Bengston.
Bengston says this will be a slow and incremental release of water during the weekend. He also says this is a normal process that occurs yearly. Though resevoirs are important during heavy rainfall, they can't control everything.
"We can’t prevent flooding downstream. What were doing is try to minimize those flows so that damages downstream are kept to the lowest levels possible," said Bengston.
One homeowner along the Row River says he's pleased with the work from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Mark Gotcher has lived along the Row River near Cottage Grove for 12 years. His property is just a few miles downstream from the Dorena Reservoir.
"What me and my family personally depend on them for is to do their job and control the water flow so that all people along the coast fork system and the Willamette System can have protection and manage their properties," said Gotcher.
Gotcher says the Army Corps of Engineers has done a good job over the years controlling and preventing flooding near his property. He says river water has risen in past years, but water has never reached his home, which is around 18 feet above the river.
"If the dams weren’t here, obviously things would be a different situation. And as a property owner, we depend on them," said Gotcher.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the dams and reservoir projects have cumulatively prevented over $20 billion in flood damages in the Willamette Valley.