The Oregon State Marine Board voted 3-2 on February 17 to establish a slow/ no wake zone in the southern half of the Holgate Channel (from the north end of the entrance of the Ross Island Lagoon to the southern tip of Ross Island.) This new area joins the no wake zone that was established last year in the Ross Island Lagoon.
Thank you to everybody who has written and testified on this issue over the past two years! A huge number of groups and individuals played a role in this decision. Willamette Riverkeeper, Urban Greenspaces Institute and Portland Audubon were the original petitioners. The City of Portland passed a resolution supporting this effort and Portland Parks Director Zari Santner led off testimony this evening. Paddling and rowing clubs and dragon boaters showed-up in droves at every hearing.
Our goal still remains a slow/ no wake zone throughout the entire channel and we will continue to urge the Marine Board to ensure that there is ongoing monitoring and enforcement in the channel. However this is a huge step forward—the narrowest and most dangerous part of the channel will now be free of high speed activity.
Oregon Marine Board member Trey Caskedon spoke eloquently about his decision to vote for the no wake zone. He talked not only about the need to address the concerns that exist today but also about the legions of kids that are taking-up paddling and the need to provide them with a safe place to learn and explore on the Willamette River. He noted that Ross Island is a “special place” and how setting aside this small stretch of river is one of the things that will make Portland unique.
Thanks again to everybody who supported this effort. Happy paddling!