Bonneville Lock & Dam

Bonneville Lock & Dam Visitor Center

Contact: Lucille Ausman

Address: I-84 Exit 40, Bonneville, OR 97014

About Bonneville Lock & Dam Visitors Center

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed and maintains the Bonneville Lock & Dam, which was the first federal lock and dam on the Columbia and Snake rivers. In 1938, the project’s initial powerhouse, spillway, and navigation lock were finished to enhance Columbia River navigation and supply hydropower to the Pacific Northwest. Both a larger navigation lock and a second powerhouse were finished in 1993.

The project is now an essential component of the system for managing water resources, which also provides habitat for fish and animals, power generation, improved water quality, irrigation, and enjoyment along the Columbia River.

A part of the Bonneville Lock and Dam Project, a Public Works Administration undertaking of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

National Historic Site

The significance of Bonneville is based on the Colonial Revival architecture of the administration building and auditorium, the innovative engineering design, the contribution to the industrial growth of the area, the function of the lock in transportation, the entrance landscaping, and the role of Bonneville as a significant government project in the 1930s to help with the Great Depression by creating jobs.

Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville, an early visionary who led an adventure to the Oregon Country and meticulously plotted large portions of what would become the Oregon Trail, is the subject of the name Bonneville Lock and Dam.

Member Highlight: Bonneville Lock & Dam Visitor Center 

Today, we’re highlighting the Bonneville Lock & Dam Visitor Center as one of our members. The Bonneville Lock & Dam is a pillar in our local area that plays several crucial roles for the area. Not only is the Bonneville Lock & Dam responsible for power generation in the Pacific Northwest, but also flood risk management, water quality improvement, irrigation, and fish and wildlife habitat and recreation.   Today the Bonneville Lock & Dam Visitor Center is a national historic landmark. The dam is named for Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville, a visionary who led explorations of the Oregon area and was responsible for charting extensive sections of what we eventually came to call the Oregon Trail. Histrionically known for being a project that provided jobs during The Great Depression, its role in location transportation, and its contributions to local industrial development, the Bonneville Lock & Dam is part of what has made life as we know it possible in the Pacific Northwest. The visitor center features Colonial-Revival style architecture that offers visitors a look into the past.  
A Special Thanks to Our Sustaining Sponsors
Reynolds School District Sustaining Member
Mt. Hood Community College Sustaining Member