With temperatures reaching between 90 and 100, the Eugene Water and Electric Board is asking customers to voluntarily reduce water use. Oregon, like many parts of the western U.S., is currently in a drought and experienced a record low snow pack this year. EWEB Spokesman Joe Harwood isn't anticipating any mandated water restrictions, like in certain parts of California.

Harwood: "We don't think that's going to happen, and that's why we're taking this voluntarily approach because just because you can use water, doesn't mean you always should."

Recorded on: June 12th, 2015

Air Date: June 15th, 2015

Delivery of utility services like electricity and water could take new directions especially for publicly owned utilities like Oregon’s largest publicly owned utility, Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), a ratepayer-owned utility sometimes called one of the best in the nation.

EWEB is preparing to work on the next Integrated Electric Resource Plan (IERP) continuing community engagement to design a resilient energy future.

City of Eugene

The City of Eugene has coordinated a pilot project to bring high-speed fiber optic cable to three buildings downtown. Two were connected last week.

Fiber optic lines already span much of Eugene. The schools, the city, and major medical facilities have it. But a lot of other fiber is “dark.” It hasn’t been taken from its source to people who would use it. The city spent 100-thousand dollars to help light some of the dark cable, hoping to attract and retain businesses downtown. Economic Development Planner Anne Fifield says it’s not just tech companies who can benefit:

UO Foundation

The University of Oregon Foundation dropped a bombshell Tuesday when it announced it would not pursue the redevelopment of EWEB's riverfront property in downtown Eugene.

Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioners chose the UO Foundation last October over two Portland developers to transform the utility's 17-acre diamond in the rough property along the Willamette River. But the Foundation has now backed out, saying the deal is too financially risky.


Eugene Water and Electric Board is suing the firm that designed and engineered a roll-gate lifting system on the Leaburg Dam. Two of the three gates have failed.


The Lane County Master Gardener Association is holding its annual plant sale Saturday in downtown Eugene. But, organizers are worried the cancelation of the annual Earth Day event might impact turnout.


The Eugene Water and Electric Board is hoping to get one of two malfunctioning roll gates on the Leaburg Dam repaired by mid-January.

One of three roll-gates broke down on the 85-year old dam on the McKenzie River in 2012. EWEB has been working on repairs and hopes to have it back in operation in a couple of weeks. Late last month, a 2nd roll-gate malfunctioned. EWEB spokesman Lance Robertson says the utility hasn’t yet determined why.  He says the dam is basically out of commission- with only one gate working.

People text donations, they text votes to reality shows, now they can text a power outage. In time for winter weather, the Eugene Water and Electric Board has launched a new reporting service.

EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says when their system was overloaded in February’s snowstorm, they started working on a solution. During that storm they also had to educate some younger customers who didn’t know they had to tell EWEB when their power was out:

Several areas in Eugene were without power for about two hours Saturday afternoon. The outages started just before three p.m., affecting several thousand Eugene Water and Electric Board customers and a University of Oregon basketball game.

Four substations malfunctioned, taking out power to the U of O campus, and Whiteaker and Coburg Road neighborhoods. Traffic signals went dark during the outage and the second half of the women’s basketball game was delayed by over an hour while waiting for the power to come back on.


The Eugene Water and Electric Board will host the construction and utilities career fair Thursday for Lane County high school students. 

More than 500 Lane County high school students will have the opportunity to work in construction, utility trade and road maintenance for a day. Joe Harwood, spokesman for EWEB says the idea is to inspire young people to pursue this kind of career.