A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Timber Lake has a job; it’s flood control

Written April 4th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The bike took me to Timber Linn Park on March 31 to check on the water level in the lake.

A reader had heard from a friend who fishes the lake in Albany’s Timber Linn Park that the water level was down several feet and the city had lowered it by taking out the dam. How come?

By the time I took a look last week, Timber Lake looked normal to me. People were fishing, the ducks were doing what they do, and the water reached up to the grass on the bank.

Still, I asked the city if anything had been done to the lake in recent weeks, anything that could have prompted concern?

The answer came from Rick Barnett, parks and facilities maintenance manager for Albany Parks and Recreation.

“Because it is a flood control body of water,” he told me by email, “we are required to drop the level every year to add additional water capacity (and I assume cut back on downstream flooding) in the winter. We put the dam boards back in once the flooding season has passed. They were put back in about a week and a half ago, and the lake is back to its normal level.”

Flood control? Yes, Cox Creek, which feeds the lake in Timber Linn and then the two Swan Lakes and Waverly Lake, is part of the Grand Prairie Water Control District. The district covers a vast area between Lebanon and Albany. Besides Cox Creek, it includes Periwinkle, Burkhart and Truax creeks.

The district exists for flood control. And it seems to have worked out pretty well.

“I have only seen the flood level come into play one time and that was with the significant flooding we had several years ago  (the year the car went into the Queen and Geary culvert).  [That was in January 2012.] Even with the extra capacity, water flooded our maintenance yard.  If the dam boards had been in, it would have backed up further, probably flooding nearby houses.”

Timber Lake used to be bigger, years ago, before the stage was extended into it as part of the park’s amphitheater project. But it’s still a nice pond, especially now that it’s full again.

Timber Lake as seen from the bridge on March 31. On the horizon, Knox Butte.





From Albany website on flooding:

Periwinkle Creek, Cox Creek, Burkhart Creek, and Truax Creek were deepened and straightened as flood control projects by the Grand Prairie Water Control District. The capacity of the creek channels was increased to contain the 100-year flood. Consequently, over-bank flooding along these four creeks is rare.

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12 responses to “Timber Lake has a job; it’s flood control”

  1. MarK says:

    It’s a nice little lake. I’ve fished there for a few years (I’m strictly catch and release). What’s disgusting is the idiots that fish there, catch SMALL trout and kill them. You’ll be fishing and notice several small trout floating with the current. When you look at the offenders, they just smile and keep doing it. Maybe more DFW surveillance is needed.

    • John Hartman says:

      What’s even more disturbing is that residents of the State of Oregon pay to have the Department of Fish and Wildlife to stock this insignificant pond every year with thousands of fingering trout for the sole purpose of providing “recreational” outlets for people posing as “fishermen.” Talk about White Privilege.

      The alleged fishermen at Timber-Linn pond fall into a couple of categories: Old, retired dudes who have too much free time and not enough imagination to do anything other than to slaughter tiny fish too meager to even cook….or a gaggle of sadistic pervs who get great joy from destroying nascent life…these fish murderers are the same folks who object to abortion because “it takes life.”

      It is true that we live in a “free” society and people can “fish” if they so desire. I would suggest that tax-payers should stop subsidizing this practice. If you want to fish for these small creatures, pay for it out of your own pocket. I’d rather not subsidize this sickness.

      • MarK says:

        Spoken like a true couch potato.

      • Therese says:

        I think you are thinking about this well. I agree with you. I do not want to pay for things that are so foolish.

      • Sharon Konopa says:

        John, you think fishing is a sickness? You must be a vegetarian then? Fishing is not just for seniors. My five year old grandson likes to fish in that lake. Have you ever heard of “catch and release”?

        • MarK says:

          Yes Sharon, this lake is great for youngsters and beginners as well. Unfortunately, some prefer to practice “catch and discard”.

      • Bob Woods says:

        You ever hear of a fishing license? You know, the money goes to the state to help pay for the costs of the fish management program. No, of course not.

        Anyone with half a brain or who has lived in Oregon for a few years or more knows that our stream and forests, along with fishing and hunting, are part of the DNA of people who revel in Oregon as home.

        • John Hartman says:

          There has been a precipitous decline in sales of hunting and fishing licenses of late. You can look it up for yourself. Several explanations have been offered for the decline. Speculating on the reasons for this shift in public attitude is pointless. The decreasing interest speaks for itself.

          That said, there was a time when organizations like the NRA and Ducks Unlimited and other pro-hunting/fishing groups focused there efforts on proselytizing for fishing and hunting. Then, along came the Conservative Right, particularly inside the National Rifle Association. In a few short years, these organizations shifted their focus from promoting hunting/fishing to becoming virulent, overblown advocates of gun semi-automatic weapons ownership and unlimited gun rights, all the while and harping endlessly on a non-existent threat of 2nd Amendment rights.

          Study the overall, nationwide decline in fishing/hunting interest with the raving politicization of these groups and it becomes clear the two are connected. The rantings of the modern day Fishing & Hunting factions are tied directly o the drop in interest.

          That there are “fisherman” deliberately catching, killing and then tossing taxpayer funded planted fish in the Timber-Linn Pond will only increase the disgust people feel. This disgust will inevitably lead to less and less interest in these alleged “outdoor activities.” Killing small creatures for some imagined kick is truly a sign of a declining social structure. Those who think otherwise delude themselves.

          • MarK says:

            John, I only agree with your last paragraph, but the majority of fishermen are much more responsible than those few. It’s just like every other problem society has. But let’s no ruin the enjoyment of the majority just because of a few “rotten apples”. You’re starting to sound like one of the “cancel culture”.

          • Abe Cee says:

            I think I’d like to “catch and release” John right back into the lake.

  2. John Fan Club #1 says:

    Shut up Abe Cee!

    doubt you would release, like so many others…


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