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American Experience

Grand Coulee Dam

The history of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington, which was one of the centerpiece projects of FDR's New Deal during the Great Depression. A controversial undertaking, it transformed the Pacific Northwest for good and bad, providing needed energy to the growing cities of Portland and Seattle even as it wiped away entire towns, dislocated Colville Indian Reservation tribes, and blocked the ability of salmon to reach their spawning grounds.