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Retirees Tour Biglow Wind Farms - 9/22/09 

Thirty-two PGE retirees, their guests and drivers made the trip up the gorge to Rufus, Oregon, in Sherman County, to the Biglow Canyon Wind Farms that covers 25,000 acres. Gary Hackett, Project Manager (soon to be a PGE retiree), greeted us upon our arrival and invited us into a conference room where he gave us a very informative PowerPoint presentation on the wind turbines and their history. After his presentation we visited a newly-completed monument honoring the late Mr. John E. Demoss, Jr., who worked at getting local farmers and PGE to put together an agreement and a plan that would be profitable to all parties in using their farm land to install the wind turbines and enable the farmers to still farm their land.  The land owners receive an annual commission check. The 217 towers are being installed in three phases and will be completed in September 2010. Each tower is 262 feet tall, with each turbine blade measuring 131 feet, and weighs 16,000 pounds. When completed the entire Biglow Project can produce enough electricity to power more than 125,000 homes. The wind turbines are made by two Danish companies; Vestas and Siemens Power Generation, Inc., each having an on-site office with staff to provide scheduled and emergency maintenance. Some parts of the towers are made in China, Vietnam, Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Both companies have staff monitoring the units both on-site and remotely in Portland and Denmark. We were invited to go inside of one of the towers. Nobody volunteered to climb the straight-up ladder to the top of the tower.  We stopped for lunch in The Dalles at The Cousinís Restaurant and then continued to The Dalles Dam and Visitorsí Center, for a private tour of the dam. After spending a wonderful day up the gorge, we returned to the Gresham Line Center ending another interesting and fun-filled day. For those of you who werenít able to join in on this trip, plan on joining us on the next trip. Be sure and make your reservations early. Due to limited space, the vans fill up quickly. A BIG THANK YOU to Ed Miska, Terry Judkins and Chick Colby for putting together these great trips they take a lot of planning. (So, great job guys!) Also a BIG Thank You to our van drivers, Dale Ritter and Scott Guptill, two guys that always make our trips fun.

As an aside: A crew from PGE replaced the blades on the wind turbine and did other work on the tower last week. OIT student April Placencia, in cooperation with PGE and David Douglas High School, will spend the coming year designing and installing a monitoring system.