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Micro-hydro research honors the memory of Edward Rada

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on May 8, 2009

Edward as a recent graduate of Oregon State College (as it was then), in Agricultural Economics (Class of ’37, MS in Ag Econ in ’41)

Edward as a recent graduate of Oregon State College (as it was then), in Agricultural Economics (Class of ’37, MS in Ag Econ in ’41)


Edward and his wife, Esther M. Rada (class of ’42, Home Economics)

Edward and his wife, Esther M. Rada (class of ’42, Home Economics)

Edward L. Rada was born in Mill City, Oregon in 1916, to Czech immigrant parents.  He left Oregon to serve as a Naval officer in WWII.  He eventually settled in Pasadena, CA, where he earned his doctorate in Economics at University of Southern California.  Edward then joined the faculty at UCLA, retiring in 1986 as Professor Emeritus of Health Economics.  He died in 2005 and is buried near Mill City.

Every summer Edward would return to Mill City for several weeks to walk his boyhood farm and the 25 acres of timberland that he would eventually inherit from his parents. Edward considered the timberland his private “National Forest,” and kept it in near pristine state.

Across the timberland run several creeks, all fed from five different springs.  Edward’s father, Frank, had filed a water rights claim with the state of Oregon in 1948 to use these springs for domestic consumption.  The springs were always considered the most valuable asset of the property and Edward worked hard to preserve their flow and maintain the storage tanks and plumbing that had been built to deliver the water to his parent’s home.  He also strongly believed, long before others, that water would one day be an extremely valuable resource, even in water-rich Western Oregon, and that his springs might eventually be used for power generation.

In that spirit, the Rada family invited Todd Jarvis of OSU’s Water Institute to study the feasibility of operating a spring-fed, hydroelectric micro-turbine on their property.  Jennifer Holderman, an MS student at the Institute, has undertaken this task as her thesis.  Jennifer’s effort is being funded by a gift from Mrs. Esther M. Rada in loving memory of her husband, Edward.

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