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LAUTERBACH v. UNITED STATES

February 5, 1951

LAUTERBACH et ux.
v.
UNITED STATES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEAVY

Evidence, both oral and documentary, having been introduced; oral arguments having been made; and the cause submitted for decision upon the evidence, and the issues herein before the court, and being fully advised the court makes and enters the following:

Findings of Fact

 I.

 II.

 That the United States of America is a corporation sovereign, and the owner and operator of the Bonneville Dam located near Bonneville, Oregon and North Bonneville, Washington, on the Columbia River, a navigable stream, the approximate center line of which is the boundary between the states of Washington and Oregon at the point of said dam.

 III.

 That the construction of said Bonneville Dam and its appurtenances was authorized September 30, 1933 by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works and adopted by the River and Harbor Act of August 30, 1935, 49 Stat. 1038 (Senate Committee Print, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session); and the completion, maintenance and operation of the Bonneville Project was authorized, in language as follows: 'For the purpose of improving navigation on the Columbia River and for other purposes incidental thereto, the dam, locks, power plant, and appurtenant works now under construction * * * at Bonneville, Oregon and North Bonneville, Washington (hereinafter called Bonneville Project), shall be completed, maintained, and operated under the direction of the Secretary of War and the supervision of the Chief of Engineers * * *. The Secretary of War shall provide, construct, operate, maintain, and improve at Bonneville project such machinery, equipment, and facilities for the generation of electric energy as the administrator may deem necessary to develop such electric energy as rapidly as markets may be found therefor.' Public Law 329, 75th Congress, August 20, 1937, 16 U.S.C.A. § 832.

 Pursuant to which authority said Dam was completed in the year 1938.

 IV.

 That the Columbia River upon which the Bonneville Dam is constructed is now and was at all times mentioned in plaintiffs' complaint, and prior thereto from time immemorial, a large and navigable stream flowing to the sea in a general southwesterly course, which stream at the time of the construction of said dam, and for generations untold prior thereto, flowed and does now flow in front of the tracts described in plaintiffs' complaint.

 That beginning at a point on the north shoreline of said river some 1700 feet upstream from the easterly boundary line of plaintiffs' property, a bend occurs in said river, consisting of a southwesterly turn in the channel through a central angle of about 60 degrees and a center radius of about 1400 feet, the width of the upstream and downstream ends of the bend being about 950 feet and 1150 feet, respectively, and the length of the bend along the Washington shoreline being about 2020 feet with the end of said bend occurring approximately 320 feet from the easterly boundary line and 430 feet from the westerly boundary line of the lands described in the complaint, which lands have an approximate frontage of 750 feet along the north bank of the Columbia River.

 That the width of the main channel of the Columbia River at the end of the spillway basin is about 1200 feet, while the channel width at the beginning of the said bend is about 950 feet; and nearly all the resulting 250 feet of convergence is effected by Bradford Island, an island located in said river, as hereinafter set forth, since the Washington shore extends practically straight downstream some 2500 feet from and perpendicular to the spillway dam axis to the beginning of said bend in the river, and by which ...


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