Good Life

Dam down, the Elwha River flows again

After plugging this mighty mountain river for a century, and fueling decades of controversy, Elwha Dam is history.

"It's no longer there; there is nothing left of it," Don Laford, URS Corp. construction manager on the Elwha takedown job, said Monday. He swept his hands back and forth as he said "gone," like an umpire calling the river "safe" after a 100-year slide into home plate.

Built beginning in 1910, the Elwha Dam sat five miles from the river's mouth. Contractors in September started taking it down, as well as Glines Canyon Dam, 8 miles more upriver. The $325 million taxpayer-funded project is intended to restore the salmon runs and ecological productivity of the Elwha and its watershed.

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