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Keeler-Pennwalt Wood Pole Removal
Multnomah and Washington Counties, Oregon
Project Description
The project will remove two de-energized transmission lines located in the Portland Metro area. BPA hasn’t used either line in many years, and we do not intend to place them back into service.  The wood pole structures and hardware supporting the conductor (transmission wires) have deteriorated. Removing these lines eliminates a potential public safety risk and allows certain portions of the transmission rights-of-way to return to more natural environment.

The entire remaining length of the Keeler-Pennwalt transmission line, from Keeler Substation to Structure 9/6, will be removed (approximately 9 miles). Approximately 3 miles of the St. John’s Tap to Keeler-Oregon City line, from structure 3/1 to structure 5/12, will also be removed.  A total of 109 wood pole structures, conductor, and associated hardware will be removed and disposed of as part of this project.

To perform the work, first the conductor and pole-mounted hardware must be disconnected and removed. Then the wood poles will be removed. At structure sites that can be accessed by heavy equipment, such as a boom truck, individual poles will be pulled directly out of the ground. The removed poles will be placed on a pole truck (log truck) by the boom truck, or temporarily placed on the ground near the work area and picked up by a self-loading pole truck.

At structure sites that cannot be accessed by heavy equipment, or where the condition of the pole presents a safety risk for crews, individual poles will be felled onto the ROW, cut into smaller pieces, and removed from the ROW. The remaining butt section will be cut off between zero and two feet below ground level. At all locations, holes will be backfilled with clean imported material, and appropriate erosion and sediment controls will be installed at work sites where the ground has been disturbed.

Predominant land uses along the existing transmission corridors include park lands managed by the City of Portland Parks and Recreation Division and Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation, and suburban residential areas.
Current Status
Project staff has carefully studied the proposed area, including access routes and work sites. The project would have a very low level of environmental impact. When complete, certain portions of the transmission corridors would be allowed to return to conditions more closely resembling what existed before the lines were constructed.

BPA’s analysis and conclusions about the proposed project’s potential impacts are summarized in a document called a Categorial Exclusion (CX). The CX was issued in early June, and can be viewed by following the link shown in the Project Documents section below. Work is projected to start in late July, 2013. A qualified contractor selected by BPA would do the work, with on-site supervision by BPA project staff.

On privately owned property, work crews will stay on the existing ROW and cross properties where landowners have given BPA permission to enter their property. If you have sent in your Permission-to-Enter-Property form, thank you. If you haven't completed the form yet, please return your signed form to help us determine the impacts of removing the two transmission lines.




For further information on this project, please contact:

Chad Hamel
BPA Project Manager 


BPA recognizes that parts of these two lines pass through a number of sensitive areas, including Portland’s Forest Park. The park is preserved by the City of Portland as an urban wilderness area and it has served as a treasured resource for generations of Oregonians. As a result, BPA’s approach for removing the lines is designed to cause the least possible amount of environmental disturbance. Project staff has worked closely with the Portland Parks and Recreation Department to refine the work plan for removing these lines.

Before starting work on this project, BPA plans to meet with local stakeholder groups whose properties or interests would be impacted. The purpose of these meetings will be to give concerned citizens an opportunity to share their ideas and feedback in a transparent, collaborative forum. 

For more information about upcoming meetings, please see BPA’s event calendar.