Assemblyman comes to Chico; discusses plans for Oroville Spillway future


“You can’t get to work if your roads don’t work” assemblymen Gallagher says on the lack of focus in infrastructure Photo credit: George Johnston

James Gallagher, the assemblyman to California’s 3rd State district, visited Chico March 30 to participate in a discussion of the Oroville Dam crisis at the Chico City Chambers.

Gallagher began the discussion by retelling his family’s evacuation experience and how they handled the Oroville Dam crisis. The assemblyman said his main goal, along with his staff, was to spread as much information to the community as possible during the crisis. Gallagher says he’s a proud member of the community and his staff was reliable during the whole event.

“I was calling every resource that I had to get information,” Gallagher said. “I think that was the key; to get people the critical pieces of information they needed during this situation.”

The assemblyman then transitioned to explain how things will go forward after the Oroville Dam crisis. Gallagher says he wants to know what the real facts are for the Oroville Dam and Spillway. He said one goal at the state assembly now includes making sure the spillway gets rebuilt.

“We need to make sure this gets built back the way it needs to be built back.” Gallagher said. “We want to make sure it’s done right.”

Gallagher’s second goal for the Oroville Spillway rebuild processes include funding the construction and investigating why the spillway failed. FEMA and emergency funds says Gallagher could potentially fund a lot of the construction. The assemblyman wants to make sure the rebuild spillway gets the money it needs.

The investigation on why the spillway collapsed will be conducted by oversight hearings in the legislatures and a technical board of engineers, Gallagher told the Orion. Gallagher mused that maybe a state audit could happen to examine how maintenance money was spent. The assemblyman would also like to see a complete review on how all the inspections were done. He wants to know the information people had of the geo-technical survey of both spillways and how that was used to address problems that arise.

“Those are the kind of questions that I want solid answers to,” Gallagher said to the Orion. “Wherever they lead they lead. We need to know that, not only because what happened here, but how we can make sure this does not happen again.”

George Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.