Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alder Point Restoration Project

Alder Creek Lumber has been operating at the southern tip of Sauvie Island as long as I've lived here. Now some of its land has been sold and it's about to undergo a major restoration project as mitigation for the superfund sites at Portland Harbor -- a fine reminder that we are all downriver from the superfund sites.

According to a website of the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Ecological Restoration Portfolio ( it says  "Proposed restoration: Restoration efforts at this site could include regrading the river banks to create a shallower slope, increasing interaction between the river and the floodplain. Restoration could also include adding native vegetation to floodplain and upland areas. Additional restoration options could also include removing portions of the private levee and restoring a diversity of riparian, marsh, mud flat and off‐channel habitats across the site. Benefits: Off‐channel, shallow, slow moving waters provide refuge and productive foraging areas for lamprey and juvenile salmon. Shallow areas can also serve as important hunting areas for bald eagles, osprey, spotted sandpiper, mink and other species. Natural beaches serve as foraging areas for mink and staging areas for spotted sandpiper and other migratory birds. Regrading the shoreline will reconnect this area to its historic floodplain and encourage the use of off‐channel areas by fish. Adding native vegetation along the banks will improve habitat complexity, increase sediment retention, provide an invertebrate food source for fish and some wildlife, and create perching and nesting habitat for birds and other animals."

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation notes that Wildlands PNW is a for-profit corporation that is developing the "Alder Point Project" as a Harbor mitigation site.

The website for Wildlands is although I don't see where it lists this project.

Last week at the Sauvie Island Community Association meeting, Michael Karnosh, the Ceded Lands Program Manager for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, talked about this project when asked. (The Multnomah tribe that lived on Sauvie Island are recognized as part of the confederated tribes). He said they are on the Trustee Council and explained that "Portland Harbor needs cleanup because it's been damaging fish and wildlife. This is to compensate the public; a way to make the public 'whole' is to restore habitats."

I don't know how soon these lumber company structures will be gone, but I wanted to document them.

As I was paddling by on Sunday taking these photos, three mergasers flew off in front of me, and I spotted these two great blue herons (if you look closely at the last photo (or enlarge it) you can see one on the piling and one on shore -- a good omen, I thought, for what's to come.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

"The Dagney" and "The Labrador"

Part of my passion for my "Adventure Paddles" (see previous post) is going past some large, unusual craft upriver. I thought perhaps they were there for repairs. What I learned about the two largest was quite a surprise. 

The Dagney

What I have found so far about The Dagney is from this 2007 website: It's a 1904 fish tender from Juneau, Alaska that "Trub's" friend lives in. He notes that now the hull is encased in Ferro-cement. If I see the owner sometime when I paddle by I will surely be inquisitive to learn more of the craft's story.

The Labrador

Who would imagine this is an art gallery? It's called 12128 BoatSpace and once I discovered that I learned that some of my neighbors had heard about it and hadn't a clue where it was.  Here's a summary of the info I found at the FortPort website noted below: The Labrador is a WWII crabbing vessel from the Bering Sea. It's 135 feet long and weighs 200 tons. Kyle Thompson, Lewis Feuer, Caitlin Ducey, and Zoe Clark are the folks who maintain the ship and operate the gallery. The gallery has been hosting shows since May 2010 and photos and information of the works exhibited are on the website. I'm told the next exhibit will be in January, 2013. An artist was at work inside when I paddled by yesterday but it was too rainy and late in the day for me to stop and say hello and find out more -- but I will.

For more information and ship photos:
To see exhibit photos, find out about past and upcoming shows or to get on the mailing list:

The ferries of NW Ferry Road

My moorage's address is NW Ferry Road and the the road dead-ends in a boat ramp. It began literally as a ferry road -- landing for a series of ferries that carried islanders to the mainland before a bridge was completed in 1950.

According to the history on these photos hanging on the wall in the island Grange building, Multnomah County began ferry service in 1910 across what was then called the Willamette Slough. The unnamed craft was described as "a slow box on water." Dewey Charlton began as a pilot in 1917 and continued until the ferries were discontinued.

It was replaced in 1919 by the Walter H. Evens, with a six-car capacity, which operated until 1932. The hours were listed as 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., except Mondays, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on Saturdays it ran all night. (When I get to the Oregon Historical Society I'll replace these with better photos.) It was guided by a trolley with a cable running through and ran in reverse on the return trip.

The third ferry was The Burlington, which operated from 1932 to 1945. This wooden-hulled boat had  its pilot house in the middle and a propeller at each end. An incident occurrred where a 35-ton crane was set incorrectly onto the deck and the ferry capsized (and was righted and in back in operation 11 hours later).

The last ferry was called The Sauvies Island and crossed the channel from 1945 to 1950. It was a steel ferry that carried 16 automobiles and averaged 200 trips a day.

According to The Story of Sauvies Island by Omar Spencer, before the county ferries were established, people traveled to and from the island by steamboat, towboats, and private ferries. Some of these were through-boats to Astoria, others carried a combination of passengers, freight and the occasional load of cattle.