In 1942, the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam was hailed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."
Seventy years later, most of us aren't aware of the what the dam or the others on the Columbia River continue to do for us, AWB President Don Brunell writes in his weekly column.
Brunell, who recently drove most of the route that folk singer Woody Guthrie traveled decades earlier when he was writing songs about the river and its dams, observed a river system with floodgates open to aid salmon travel.
And when he arrived home in Vancouver, Brunell saw a Columbia River at its high-water mark, as it often is this time of year.
It was not, however, threatening to flood as it did in 1948 when Vanport, once Oregon's second-largest city, was washed away in floodwaters that killed 16 people.
The Grand Coulee and the rest of the dams on the Columbia-Snake River system have provided generations of electric power, flood control and irrigation water.
"For most of us, the dams have always been there," Brunell writes. "We never knew a time without them, when electricity was scarce, when we struggled to grow crops on barren land and lived in fear of raging floodwaters.
"But we shouldn't take them for granted."