Date of visit: April 17, 2011
Population: 55 (2010 Census)
Prescott is a tiny community off of Highway 30 (it’s so tiny in fact, that I was surprised to learn that it’s incorporated). Most people probably don’t know it’s there due to the complete lack of signage for the little town on the main highway. Prescott consists of a small collection of houses and little else. Two big landmarks in the area – Prescott County Park and PGE’s Trojan Park – are larger than Prescott is.
Prescott used to be next-door-neighbors with Oregon’s only commercial nuclear power plant. The Trojan plant was completed in 1974 and started producing power in 1975, although a visitor’s center had opened in 1973 to begin educating the public. The facility also included a public park with lakes, nature trails, picnic areas, and play structures.
In the early 90s the board of directors had voted to phase out the plant and shut it down by 1996. But in 1992 a steam generator tube leak was discovered. What was supposed to be a temporary shutdown became a permanent one when PGE realized that maintaining the steam generator for another few years would be more costly than an early shutdown. The nuclear reactor was eventually barged to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2005, and the 499-foot cooling tower was demolished in 2006.
Although the power plant is gone, the park is still around. The strange-looking picnic shelters designed by Norman Zimmer are still in the park, looking a little weathered after all these years. The park is a popular place for families on nice weekends.
A large ship in the Columbia, as seen from Prescott County Park
The former Training Building for Trojan staff. It now sits empty.
Geese at Trojan Park. Shortly after I took their picture, they ran at me in attack mode!
Reflections in the lake at Trojan Park