Bonneville Power Administration

Contributor: Kaye Silver

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) started during the New Deal to market and transmit hydropower from the Columbia River. At the beginning, power was transmitted from Bonneville Dam and Grand Coulee Dam, but over time the number of dams has grown to 31. The Pacific Northwest played a crucial role in the ship, plane and aluminum supply for the World War II effort, and the power to do this 24/7 was supplied by BPA as a public power agency.


Learn more about BPA’s enormous role in the Pacific Northwest at its Visitor Center, conveniently located across the street from the Double Tree Hotel and blocks from the Oregon Convention Center. This Visitor Center features interactive exhibits as well as publications related to BPA’s history, geography, youth education and business. The historical content in this museum-like exhibit was culled from the BPA Library’s document, photo and film archives.

Visitors are welcome to view current and historic videos, explore BPA’s geography electronically, build their own circuit, and choose from a variety of take-aways, including DVDs of historic BPA films.

The Visitor Center is open to the public and located at 905 NE 11th Ave (across from the Lloyd Center MAX station). The BPA Visitor Center is open between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm, so stop by before or after your conference day, or on a break— from the Convention Center it’s within walking distance or two stops away on MAX. Photo identification is required for entry, paid street parking is available, and there is no restroom access. Contact 503-230-INFO, or for more information.


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