Bolyvong S Tanovan

December 12, 1937September 1, 2018

Bolyvong Tanovan Ph.D, P.E, passed away Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the age of 80, at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Oregon surrounded by his family and friends. Bolyvong was born December 12, 1937 in Mahaxay, Laos, the only child of Van Tanovan and Chantakham Saycosie.

Bolyvong received early schooling in Vientiane, Laos (1949-54); his secondary education in Tournon, France (1954-55); Montpellier, France (1955-57); bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in Civil Engineering from Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland (1957-63).

His early career experience: Electricity Authority in Laos, Laotian representative on the Mekong River Commission, member of U.S State Department-sponsored visit to the Columbia River system, United Nations River in Bangkok, Thailand and upon relocating to Portland, Oregon for the second time in 1976, Robert E. Meyer before rejoining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1983. He served as Chief of the Power Northwest Division in Portland studying how corps’ dams and other facilities affect water quality and salmon-preservation.

A career spanning 45-years, some notable accomplishments include the establishment of a satellite-based Total Dissolved Gas Monitoring system for the Columbia River System; creation of the International USA-Canada Water Quality Work Group; developed real-time anadromous fish migration (FISHPASS) model for the Columbia/Snake Rivers and operational Columbia System water temperature (COLTEMP) model; created website-based study protocols for Corps/BPA/Reclamation water management partnership, Technical Management Team, and Joint Operating Committee; prepared a script for the documentary film, “The Columbia, A River of Many Returns”, supervised preparation of Columbia River Treaty annual operating plans; redefined role and funding of the Hydropower Analysis Center of Expertise; coordinated construction and operation of Columbia flip lip spillways and Willamette selective withdrawal towers; coordinated visits to Columbia projects requested by foreign visitors from around the world; operated and refined the Mekong River delta SOGREAH model, and participated in feasibility studies and constructions of the first three Lao dams (Nam-Ngum, Selabam and Nam Dong). Post-retirement, he consulted on water resources engineering and language proficiency testing (for American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Apart from the dedication to his career, Bolyvong was a strong supporter of Laotian communities in the United States. He served as President of the Lao Association of Oregon and Chair of the Temple Advisory Board for Wat Buddhathammaram in Portland, Oregon. He has received numerous recognition and accolades from the community for his leadership rand efforts to preserve the Lao culture and traditions. Bolyvong was an avid tennis, enjoyed surf fishing for sea perch, playing musical instruments including the organ and guitar and was a lotto-enthusiast. But above all, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Bolyvong is survived by his wife Ounheuan; daughters, Heuanmali (Mali Chanthakhoun) and Thidachan (Tristan Tanovan-Fox); grandchildren, Austin and Katie. Bolyvong was preceded in death by his mother Chanthakham Tanovan (1937), his father Van Tanovan (2013) and daughter Ravivan Tanovan (2017).

Funeral services will be held at 12pm-5pm on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Finley Sunset Hills Memorial, 6801 SW Sunset Highway, Portland, Oregon. Reception to be held at the Tanovan's residence following services, 15795 SW Bobwhite Circle, Beaveron, Oregon.

For more information please contact (503) 579-3040.


  • Visitation Thursday, September 6, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 8, 2018
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bolyvong S Tanovan

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Bena Auer

September 17, 2018

To Mrs. Tanovan and the family of Bolyvong S Tanovan, I send my sincerest and deepest condolences. I had the distinct privilege of working with Bolyvong for the past nine years, here at Language Testing International . He was a kind and gentle man, always willing to participate and assist whenever we called upon him for his language testing services. May you find peace and tranquility in the memory of your loved one, during this sad time. My thoughts and prayers to you all.