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IF we have a total SHTF everything shuts down the cops go home etc Question

Mark W.

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OK so there is a total collapse those in the know are heading for the hills. There is panic in the streets the government is no more the cops didn't come into work today.

How long will Portland exist as a physical place?


Cause looking up the river if no one is watching Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, McNary, Priest Rapids, Dams as well as Grand Coulee Dam and the 8 others upstream And the 15 dams on the Snake and the 9 dams on the Pend Oreille-Clark Fork–Flathead and the 8 dams on the Kootenai River All upstream from Portland.

For a total of 45 dam on the Columbia River system


My guess is the first spring would bring the whole mess down river and nothing will be left of Portland or Vancouver and out to the Ocean. Heck even Oregon City could go if it backs up the Willamette.

Just a little food for thought.
 
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Sounds like the making of a very cool disaster movie. I've often thought what would happen if Lost Creek Dam would let go all at once. That's the one that could get to me.
Mike
 
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People do heroic things in the face of danger. Someone would see the danger and make every effort to open the gates.
I agree - look at the people who stayed at the Fukushima nuclear plants. I mean, that's almost certainly a death sentence for some of those folks, their homes & families had just been through a severe earthquake/tsunami, etc. - and yet, they stayed at their posts. I wouldn't be surprised if some dam workers had similar commitments. Besides that - creating power may be a lucrative venture after SHTF, so why not be at the center of it? It may be that new cities/industries would arise proximate to the dams to take advantage of the power & water they offered, without relying on an extensive system of power lines to get it to already existing urban centers.

Or, maybe Portland will take a bath...
 

Norm0931

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Actually there was something about this on Discovery. That statistics on dams in the US as far as deficiencies is amazing. For instance, the number of High Hazard Dams, those whose failure would result in significant loss of life, in need of repair was 364 in 2001. That number rose the 1,743 a mere six years later in 2007. Now this is a relatively low number considering Oregon has about 84,000 dams alone, 225ish are ranked "high hazard" but, when you see a 500% increase in dams that have a high probability of failure and causing a significant loss of life in a mere 6 years that's a little unnerving.
 
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I'm not too worried about the dams, they are actually fairly self maintaining.

What I would worry about is the million or so starving people that turn into cannibals after about a couple of weeks or so.
 
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Mark W.

Mark W.

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I'm not too worried about the dams, they are actually fairly self maintaining.

What I would worry about is the million or so starving people that turn into cannibals after about a couple of weeks or so.
And yet you think a few dozen of those people per big dam will stay by their post.. Cause no outsider would ever be able to operate the spillways at a Dam like the big ones on the Columbia.

Tell you what I have a friend who worked at The Dalles dam for years he was even sent to New Orleans to help try to restore the dikes and leevies there I'll ask him how many people it would take to keep a big dam operating or at least to keep it from being over flowed. And post what he says here.
 
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Meh... dams don't break when everyone leaves... heck, they'd even produce power on their own. Eventually they'd get out of phase and the turbines would seize up, I suppose.

Even so, you're talking about 11,975,520 cu yd of concrete (shamelessly copied from Wikipedia). We're not talking about an attack on the dam, in your scenario... unless we are, that would qualify as a SHTF situation, but not TEOTWAWKI, which seems to be what you're describing.

Even if it were though, as skydiver said: "Different dams would spill at different times, not all at the same time. Even if they failed." Even if Grand Coulee itself physically collapsed and dumped the whole reservoir, the only town that would be wiped out would be the town of Coulee Dam itself. It would wash away like shampoo down the drain, but by the time it hit Portland, the surge would have been slowed down by every dam along the way. You'd get high water, but not the tsunami you envision. That would take the physical collapse of every dam along the way in a coordinated fashion. Even foreign governments don't have those kind of capabilities.
 
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Boat houses and docks are connected to pilings with d-rings. If the water level ever gets to high the d-rings will slip up over and off the pilings.

Think of 30 ton boat houses and the docks floating down the river and what damage they could do to a dam. And bridge supports. Yikes!
 
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Even if Grand Coulee itself physically collapsed and dumped the whole reservoir, the only town that would be wiped out would be the town of Coulee Dam itself. It would wash away like shampoo down the drain, but by the time it hit Portland, the surge would have been slowed down by every dam along the way. You'd get high water, but not the tsunami you envision. That would take the physical collapse of every dam along the way in a coordinated fashion. Even foreign governments don't have those kind of capabilities.
Well, then there's Brewster, Bridgeport (because the flood of water from Grand Coulee would over top Chief Joe and we don't know what would happen to it as a result of that)....then Pateros...Rocky Reach is mostly an earthen dam, so I am not sure how well it would do....and so on down the line. Grand Coulee, if it is the first to go, would start a cascade of failures.
 
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Well, then there's Brewster, Bridgeport (because the flood of water from Grand Coulee would over top Chief Joe and we don't know what would happen to it as a result of that)....then Pateros...Rocky Reach is mostly an earthen dam, so I am not sure how well it would do....and so on down the line. Grand Coulee, if it is the first to go, would start a cascade of failures.
I'm not sure how Rocky Reach would handle that either... but the others would actually slow the surge. The water would top them, but there's usually about 20' or more of gap between the top of the dam and the top of the reservoir. That's a LOT of water that each dam would collect before the surge topped the dam. Far from a cascade failure, this would actually mitigate the damage. I think I read somewhere that this was part of the logic that went into the downstream dams. They were designed in such a way that if they had to deal with a surge from upstream due to a failure of some kind, they would be able to help control it. Even if everyone had run for the hills and the whole of civilization collapses, there wouldn't be a torrential flood downstream, just high water.
 
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And yet you think a few dozen of those people per big dam will stay by their post.. Cause no outsider would ever be able to operate the spillways at a Dam like the big ones on the Columbia.
If I was in Portland, everything stops, the cops disappear, the last thing on my mind is going to be the collapse of the dams. If I am considering threats during such a scenario, it will be the barking crazy people around me.
 
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Mark W.

Mark W.

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According my friend who worked the dams as an engineer for most of his adult life .

In 3-5 years the dams would flood internally and the results would be a failure of the spillways causing a huge release of water that would casade down the river taking out lower dams after 2-3 go the whole mess below would end up failing. He says a couple bad winters could even speed that up.

He says the dams are very hands on and if left on their own for as much as a winter they would be on the path to failure

might not be a worry in the first couple years but soon.
 
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According my friend who worked the dams as an engineer for most of his adult life .

In 3-5 years the dams would flood internally and the results would be a failure of the spillways causing a huge release of water that would casade down the river taking out lower dams after 2-3 go the whole mess below would end up failing. He says a couple bad winters could even speed that up.

He says the dams are very hands on and if left on their own for as much as a winter they would be on the path to failure

might not be a worry in the first couple years but soon.
Well, for better or worse (I'm going with better), nobody's tested out the theory yet. I would hazard a guess that the process would be a bit more gradual, but I'm going to defer to the obvious superiority of the engineer here :)
 
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Try to find a route out of any town along the Willamette that doesn't require crossing at least 2 or 3 bridges on your way . Between traffic and whatever disaster that is happening , those bridges would be impassable . Heading for the hill is a great theory , but not really possible unless you get a 3 hour headstart on everybody else . Once the dams go the bridges will be gone and traveling anywhere else will be tough . Protect your home and family , stay put unless you are sure you can get where you are heading .
 
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30 years ago I had a friend that was a physical engineer with BPA and I asked him the very same question. "The system is designed to handle a colapse of any 3 dams at once." he said
So there is an answer.
all dams? half of all dams?
wear your water wings
I'm 1800 feet above the flood plain, no worries mate!
below 1800 feet it will be like Fukashima
 
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30 years ago I had a friend that was a physical engineer with BPA and I asked him the very same question. "The system is designed to handle a colapse of any 3 dams at once." he said
So one at a time should be a cakewalk then...

Of course, since the system was designed before the detailed computer models we have now, I wonder what such a simulation would show.
 

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