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Paul Lane; Former DWP Head Led Agency During Expansion


Paul H. Lane, who was general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power during a period of major expansion, has died. He was 74.

Lane died Sept. 18 of heart failure at his retirement home in Friday Harbor, Wash., utility company officials said Tuesday.

During Lane's tenure at the top from 1983 to 1989, the DWP completed the Los Angeles Aqueduct Filtration Plant in Sylmar and the Intermountain Power Project in Utah. When Lane was chief engineer, he oversaw construction of a new Los Angeles Reservoir after Van Norman Dam was crippled by the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. In his 40-year career at the DWP, Lane became an expert on quake-prone construction sites.

"The exhaustive soils and geological explorations, as well as the conservative design and analysis by the DWP and its consultants," he told The Times in 1975 when rebuilding the reservoir, "are believed to be unprecedented in the history of dam construction projects."

Lane was praised by the city's Board of Water and Power Commissioners for a "warm, personal management style, commitment to integrity and high personal regard for DWP employees and for their well-being, which created a high level of morale."

A native of California, Lane majored in civil engineering at UCLA and Oregon State University and graduated from UC Berkeley. He served in the Army during World War II.

He began working for the city utility in 1949, rising through jobs in planning, design, construction and operation of water facilities. In 1972 he was named chief engineer of water works and assistant manager. He became assistant general manager in 1982.

Lane had a gubernatorial appointment to serve on the Colorado River Board, and was a director of the California Water Resources Assn., the California Municipal Utilities Assn. and Western Water Education Foundation.

A resident of Northridge before his retirement, Lane is survived by his wife of 52 years, Kathryn; a son, Garth Lane of Simi Valley; two daughters, Susan Shields of North Hills and Karen Lanrose of Friday Harbor, Wash., and eight grandchildren.

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