The Columbia Rolls On

Event Date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, 127 S. Mission Street, Wenatchee

Doors open at 6:30pm, Program begins at 7pm,

Q & A following

Admission by Donation


The Columbia Rolls On: History and Discussion of the Columbia

A vision for the future: modernizing a treaty to sustain a river and its people in the 21st century

Join moderator Sara Rolfs in discussion and exploration current issues impacting the Columbia River. Speakers Steve Wright, Chelan Co. PUD, author Eileen Delahanty Pearkes, and John Sirois of the Upper Columbia United Tribes share their insights into the history and perspective of hydro- power on the Columbia River. The Columbia River Treaty, then and now, and what it means for those who live along the banks of the mighty river as we move into the future. 

About the Speaker

 The Columbia River Treaty: it’s structure and original purpose as it relates to the hydro system in the U.S. Based on Steve's experience with the Columbia River Treaty, he will provide a perspective on how to get to a balanced solution providing broad benefits to the Pacific Northwest.

Steve has had a 37 year career in the Pacific Northwest energy industry. He spent 32 years at the Bonneville Power Administration, the last 12 as the Administrator/CEO after spending 9 years managing the Washington DC office. He has been General Manager of Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County (Chelan PUD) since September 2013.

Steve began engaging Columbia River Treaty issues in the mid-1990s when the original Entitlement Return agreements needed to be renegotiated. As the BPA Administrator, Steve was Chairman of the US Entity, designated by Presidential executive order as the US lead for
implementing the Columbia River Treaty. Under his lead, the initial joint studies with the Canadian Entity of post-2024 Columbia River Treaty operations were initiated. He also led the establishment of the process that led to the Regional Recommendation in December 2013. Steve
led the regional agencies in the inter-agency process led by the National Security Council and,along with the Corps of Engineers, was the lead representative in discussions on Capitol Hill.

Chelan PUD owns and operates two projects on the Columbia River and is responsible for the largest share of the Canadian Entitlement Return of any load serving utility. Steve is currently one of three co-chairs of the Power Group that represents Pacific Northwest electric ratepayer interests regarding Columbia River Treaty issues.

“Healing the Columbia”  includes historical images and some mapping that introduces the “upper” basin as a concept and details the losses to that portion of the basin as a result of the treaty, Eileen then discusses possibilities for renewal.  

Eileen Delehanty Pearkes explores landscape and the human imagination in conference presentations, books, essays and online media.  Born in the United States, educated at Stanford University (B.A., English) and the University of British Columbia (M.A., English), Eileen has been a resident of Canada since 1985.  Her personal biography, education and academic interests, her perspective on landscape, water and culture is uniquely bi-national and firmly grounded in place. As a public speaker, Eileen’s work focuses on the natural history and human culture of the upper Columbia River region in British Columbia, Canada.


Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT), Native American/First Nations historical perspective of the Columbia River and the Treaty including reintroduction of salmon above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams.

A member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, John (say’ay’) served much of his career within the Colville Tribes’ government as both Council Chairman and Council Member. At UCUT, John facilitates the collaborative intertribal committee process. Though John earned a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington, he feels fortunate he learned traditional ways from his tribal elders.