The licence is the final regulatory step in a process that began in 1996 when PGE and CTWS first began conversations around a joint ownership agreement for Pelton Round Butte. The two parties gave it preliminary approval in the Spring of 2000, received Oregon Public Utility Commission approval in August of that year and signed the ownership agreement in December of 2001. They began shared ownership under an annual FERC licence in 2002.

In July 2004, the two owners agreed to a licensing agreement with 20 other collaborating organisations and submitted it to FERC. The centerpiece of the agreement is a commitment to restore passage of salmon and steelhead through the three-dam project for the first time since 1968 at a cost to the owners of more than US$100M.

Under the 2001 ownership contract, CTWS purchased a one-third interest in the project from PGE, effective 1 January 2002. In 2022, CTWS has the option to increase its share to 49.99%. The tribes may increase their ownership to 50.01% by 2037.

PGE is responsible for day-to-day operations at the project, which is managed by a joint operating committee of PGE and CTWS.