Early Power Generation

Lincoln Steam Plant

100 years: 1910 - 2010

The Lincoln Plant is built on the Portland waterfront by sister company Northwestern Electric Co. The photo below from 1918 shows the interior of the completed plant that is initially powered by hog fuel, typically a mixture of wood chips, shavings and residue from sawmills delivered by barge via the Willamette River. The fuel becomes a “sawdust mountain” landmark on the Portland waterfront for years. The 15,500-kw Lincoln steam plant provides electricity for part of the city as well as steam heat for downtown buildings. A spring flood in 1948 almost makes an island of the plant. Critical areas are sand bagged to keep the plant on-line to serve steam customers and to be ready to provide standby power. The company phases out the Lincoln plant in mid-1986. The former site, under the Marquam Bridge, is now redeveloped as the South Waterfront at RiverPlace.