Clackamas Hydro History

More than 130 years of innovation and sustainable energy production

Hydropower is a renewable, emissions-free and local source of energy, drawing from the natural power of the regional water cycle to provide electricity to Oregon. Our Clackamas hydropower facilities don’t just provide a sustainable source of electricity (enough to power up to 78,000 homes) — they also provide opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing and other recreation activities in our reservoirs.

Hydropower on the Clackamas River

River Mill

River Mill, an Ambursen dam began generating power in 1911. It's on the National Register of Historic Places and generates enough power for more than 10,000 homes.


Faraday was our first dam. Then called the Cazadero Dam, it began operation in 1907, and was rebuilt after damage from a 1964 flood. For more than a century, this dam has been diverting water to Faraday Lake and through the powerhouse, generating enough electricity to power more than 17,000 homes. As part of our continued investment in upgrades to our Clackamas hydro system, the Faraday Powerhouse is being rebuilt to address long-term operational safety and improve generation efficiency, ensuring a stable power supply for decades to come.

North Fork

In operation since 1958, the North Fork facility generates enough electricity to power nearly 20,000 homes. PGE also uses the dam to control flow downriver to Faraday and River Mill.

Oak Grove

The Oak Grove powerhouse, in operation since 1924, is PGE’s most efficient hydro facility. A sharp drop in elevation means water flows into the powerhouse at a very fast speed, generating enough electricity to power more than 24,000 homes.

Timothy Lake

In 1956, Timothy Lake was created to provide additional storage. In the summer months, the lake provides recreation opportunities. During the rest of the year, the lake is managed to capture rain and snow melt for peak operation of the Oak Grove plant. Timothy Lake has kokanee, eastern brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with rainbows throughout the summer. The lake is also host to a number of PGE-owned public parks and campgrounds.

Electrifying Portland

Check out this Flickr slideshow for more on the rich history we share with the Clackamas River Basin and the entire Portland region.