History of the Cushman Hydroelectric Project

In June 2017, HRA historians completed “A History of the Cushman Hydroelectric Project: Tacoma Power, the Skokomish Tribe, and the Skokomish River, 1910–2016,” a fully illustrated interpretative history book for Tacoma Power. Tacoma Power, public utility for Pierce County, contracted with HRA to write and produce the book to serve as historical mitigation for alterations made to the historic Cushman dams. More importantly, the narrative history gives voice to the Skokomish Tribe and Tacoma Power in telling the 100-year history of the hydroelectric facility and the daunting 35-year struggle to relicense the two dams, maintain a public power source, and restore healthy salmon runs to the North Skokomish River. HRA performed all elements that went into making the book; the author conducted research and interviews, wrote the text, selected photographs, and designed the layout, and HRA’s team produced the coffee-table-style book. The narrative draws from primary source archival research and from oral history interviews the author conducted with tribal leaders and elders and with Tacoma Power executives and staff.