COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- Plans for a new hydroelectric plant at a dam in Oregon have become a mess, with the project's owner and its now-former general contractor fighting in federal court.
The Register-Guard reports that the privately owned power plant at Dorena Dam on the Row River near Cottage Grove has been under construction for nearly two years, was slated to be done last June and is millions of dollars over budget. The delays have disqualified owner Dorena Hydro from getting a government subsidy of about $8 million.
Dorena Hydro and its general contractor, Mowat Construction, of Woodinville, Wash., are accusing each other in a federal lawsuit of bungling the project. The newspaper reports that Mowat's president wrote in one letter to Dorena Hydro that the venture is a "quagmire."
The newspaper says the dispute highlights the potential pitfalls of grafting a hydroelectric project onto an old dam built for flood control. The dam is owned and run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which granted permission for the project.
Mowat claims Dorena Hydro provided shoddy plans, repeatedly changed designs as construction progressed, failed to get federal permits on time, bought a defective turbine for Mowat to install and failed to pay Mowat at least $4.5 million.
Dorena Hydro says Mowat failed to accomplish key tasks on time or on budget.