The John Day Dam lock system upriver from the Dalles is broken and a workaround in place means tug and barge traffic is slow through the dam. This would be an issue anytime, but more so now – because it’s harvest time and lots of wheat is waiting to come downriver to ships for export overseas. The mechanical breakdown highlights the importance of the chain of river commerce that we take for granted.

Image courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers – USACE, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons