The Canby Ferry - M.J. Lee II
Canby Ferry Information Line: 503-650-3030
Canby Ferry Operating Status
The Ferry will be CLOSED Wednesday, Aug. 27, for routine maintenance.
Fares (one way)
The County conducted a survey of Ferry riders and others in February 2012. Click here for a summary of the results.
Another Willamette River Ferry: Wheatland Ferry in Marion County
About the M.J. Lee II
The M/V MJ Lee II is a steel-hulled, double-ended, passenger/car ferry. The principal characteristics of the vessel are as follows:
|July 1914||Ferry purchased in Newberg by Canby Mayor W.H. Bair and by Harry B. Evans, representing the Canby Business Men's Club. It is propelled by a splashboard driven by the river current and held on course by a cable. The first ferryman is Clem Dollar who receives $10 a month from the City of Canby.|
|May 1916||Canby City Council authorizes $250 for a new, gas-driven ferry.|
|1917||Second ferry is built by Frank E. Dodge, a Canby builder. The final cost is under budget at $238. The ferry was 44 feet long and 12 feet wide.|
|1917 - 1918||Edward Kilgallen, who lost an arm in childhood, succeeds Dollar as ferryman and the wages are reduced to $7.50 per month. He is found dead in the boathouse at the ferry slip in 1932. He had figured his trips across the river at 1,261, carrying 1,942 passengers.|
1919 - 1920
W.B. Nolen is also paid $7.50 per month as ferryman.
The third Canby Ferry goes into service, with the six-horsepower engine from the second ferry and a new propeller. It is 45 feet long and 15 feet wide.
|1933||Theodore Neep serves as ferryman until 1942. He and his family live in a house on the south landing furnished by the County.|
|January 1946||Heavy rains and a flooded river sweep the ferry from its moorings and pieces go over the Willamette Falls.|
|1946 - 1953||Inactive. Community members encourage the county to reinstate the ferry.|
|June 1952||Canby Chamber and Lions Club presents the Clackamas County Court with 8,000 signatures seeking restoration of ferry service.|
|September 1952||County Commissioners approve construction of a steel-hulled ferryboat by L.S. Baier of Milwaukie.|
|November 1952||The fourth Canby Ferry, the M.J. Lee, launches at Baier's plant and is christened by Ora Lee Cattley, daughter of Canby's first mayor, Heman A. Lee, and granddaughter of Philander and Anna Green Lee who settled in the Canby area in 1847. The ferry is named for Millard Jerome Lee, first child born (1872) in the 1870-platted town of Canby.|
|July 3, 1953||Ferry service restored with William H. Criteser and Bill Bruck as ferrymen. Chester Weaver named third operator.|
|1956 - 1986||Miller (Ace) Mays serves as ferry operator.|
|1959 - 1979||Victor Hodel serves as ferry operator.|
1960 - 1978
Richard W. Hill serves as ferry operator.
The ferry is featured on the cover of Sunset magazine.
|1986||Free service ends and one-way toll of $1 is established.|
|1989||Ferry renovated and repainted. Coast Guard declares that vessel will not be recertified.|
|December 1995||Ferry fails Coast Guard safety inspection and County contracts with Art Anderson Associates to replace it.|
|February 1996||Ferry closed due to severe flooding on Willamette and remains closed during rebuilding of ferry docks.|
|June 20, 1997||Service is restored with new six-vehicle ferry built at Diversified Marine in Portland. The ferry crew includes Joe Dietrich, John Lettenmaier, Carl Ellison, Jack Siefert, Mike Pyszka and Bret Proffitt.|
July 4, 1997
Clackamas County Commissioners and the Canby community celebrate the reopening. The M.J. Lee II is christened by Doris Cattley Martin, descendent of M.J. Lee.
Fares increased to help cover operating costs.
Ferry taken through Willamette Falls Locks to be refitted with a new propulsion system in Portland and returned. The previously-closed Locks are re-opened under special arrangement to allow the ferry to pass through in January and July.
(from information provided by Myra Weston, Canby historian)