Lookout Point Dam releases 90,000 gal. a second into Willamette

LOWELL, Ore. -- Western Oregon finally saw some much-needed precipitation in February, filling Lookout Point Lake with water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers open the spillway gates Wednesday, something they do a few times a year to create space for late spring storms and snow melt.

Engineer Greg Taylor said the Lookout Point Reservoir captured 200,000 acre feet of water over the past week and a half.

"That's like filling the football field at Autzen Stadium about 29 miles deep with water," Taylor said. "It really moderates what we see in Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis, Salem and on down the system... to prevent and reduce the amount of flooding."

Taylor said the reservoir is about two-thirds full, which is much higher than they like to have the reservoir at this time of year.

When opened, the floodgates release about 90,000 gallons of water a second. At that rate the water level will slowly drop back down to average levels.

Taylor says they will close the gates at the end of March, allowing the reservoir to completely fill for summer.