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On Saturday, May 18th at about 3:15 p.m., Lane County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol and Search & Rescue Deputies responded to a water rescue along with Eugene Springfield Fire. The rescue took place on and around the low head dam, a concrete structure in the Willamette River east of I-5 that has formed an enormous log jam. 

A total of six people were rescued, including two in shallow water below the dam and one on the dam. None had life jackets, and were floating on inner tubes. Five had gone over the dam into the strainer, while one managed to grab onto a log. Had they gone under the log jam, they likely would not have survived.  

Lane County has miles of beautiful water ways and warm spring weather. Please enjoy safely. Wear a life jacket. Scout the river ahead. Check river obstructions before you go. For those floating the Willamette River in the Eugene / Springfield area, be very cautious passing low head dam, to include taking out well before the obstruction to go around it.  

View an interactive map of obstructions from the Oregon State Marine Board at