Photo of Ted CaseWho do you trust when things are on the line? If you are a Portland Trail Blazer fan, the answer is obvious: Damian Lillard.

Few NBA basketball players have ever made as many big shots in the final seconds of a game as Portland’s transcendent All-Star point guard. In fact, they even have a name for it: Dame Time. Inexplicably, Lillard is rumored to be traded to another NBA team, which raises a head-scratching question for any Trail Blazer fan: Why the heck would you want to do that?

This is not the only head-scratcher going on in the Pacific Northwest. As this month’s feature story points out, the four lower Snake River dams also came up big in crunch time this year and in something far more important than a sporting event.

According to a federal assessment, the dams were an integral part of keeping the lights on during the unprecedented ice storm that staggered the western United States in February. Yet the move to breach the Snake River dams rolls on, despite exhaustive federal studies that show removing these dams would be detrimental to consumer rates and the Northwest’s quest to decarbonize. The study indicated breaching these dams would add 3.3 million metric tons of carbon a year to our atmosphere.

Moreover, the importance of these dams to reliability cannot be overstated. While Texas plunged into a deep freeze that killed scores of people, the Snake River dams helped keep the Northwest electric grid humming when other power sources failed.

There is also growing evidence these workhouse dams played a critical role in managing the extreme heat in June.

If power plants were traded like NBA players, I’m fairly certain the state of Texas would send us a few thousand windmills for the Snake River dams—and a gas plant to be named later.

Unlike the future of Damian Lillard in Portland, our elected officials have a choice to keep the Snake River dams. Let’s urge them to vote no on proposals to breach the dams. The consequences of losing these resources could be heartbreak far beyond the Blazers losing a player who could bring them an NBA championship.

Ted Case
Executive Director