The Canby Ferry, which has been closed for several days because of high water, will be out of service for up to six months in order to undergo major maintenance. The work will be done by Diversified Marine Inc. on Hayden Island in Portland, and is expected to be completed by the end of June 2013.
In order to move the ferry to Hayden Island, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to allow it to be manually towed through the Willamette Falls Locks. The ferry will move downstream through the locks on Tuesday, Dec. 18, and will be permitted to return upstream through the locks when the work is completed in early summer 2013.
Clackamas County Director of Transportation and Development Cam Gilmour says being able to take the ferry through the locks rather than transporting it on land will save about $500,000. "We very much appreciate the willingness of the Corps to work with us on this," Gilmour noted. "It's another great example of government agencies working together for the benefit of taxpayers and customers. We also hope this will further our efforts to encourage the Corps and Congressional delegation to find the funding necessary to repair and reopen the Locks permanently to commercial and recreational usage."
"When the Corps of Engineers changed the status of the Willamette Falls Locks to non-operational due to excessive corrosion of the gate anchors, it left a few businesses with vessels on the wrong side of the locks," said Jerry Carroll, Bonneville Lock and Dam operations manager. "We were able to accommodate limited passage with strict restrictions in a manner that minimized risk to the vessel and acceptable risk to the locks."
Clackamas County received $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to retrofit the ferry's propulsion system to reduce electricity usage, eliminate the potential of an environmentally-damaging oil spill, and ensure continued safe and reliable transportation. The work will include:
- Installing new motors
- Sandblasting and painting the entire boat
- Replacing the current hydraulic propulsion system with an electric propulsion system
- Structural upgrades related to balancing the boat, ventilation and other features.
When the ferry returns to service in summer 2013, it will have a quieter, more environmentally friendly propulsion system and additional deck space for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Canby Ferry normally crosses the Willamette River between Canby and Wilsonville seven days a week except on major holidays and when the water level rises to 70 feet or higher. More information about the Ferry is at www.clackamas.us/roads/ferry.html.
For more information about the Canby Ferry, contact Ellen Rogalin, Clackamas County, 503-742-4274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Willamette Falls Locks, contact Diana Fredlund, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 503-808-4514 or Diana.J.Fredlund@usace.army.mil.