Support BikePortland

Momentum builds for carfree river ferry service between Portland and Vancouver

Posted by on November 16th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Susan Bladholm, president of Frog Ferry, at the Oregon Transportation Commission this morning.

The ‘Frog Ferry’ has taken a major leap forward this week. The passenger ferry concept is making its first major public debut with media coverage and a spot on the agenda at today’s meeting of the Oregon Transportation Commission (the governor-appointed body that sets transportation policy for the State of Oregon).

Spearheading the effort is Susan Bladholm, a former director of Cycle Oregon and corporate marketing professional who spent 10 years each with Business Oregon and the Port of Portland. Bladholm has spent two years researching and building support for her plan to establish a ferry service on the Willamette River that would shuttle customers between Lake Oswego and Vancouver.

Flanked by Portland Spirit Owner Dan Yates and Metro Project Manager Chris Ford (fresh of his win as project manager for the SW Corridor, which was approved by Metro Council last night), Bladholm said, “It’s time for a new mode of transportation to be introduced.”

From a presentation by Frog Ferry.

Potential stops.

“The heavy lift is bringing in the infrastructure and changing the culture,” she continued. “Just like cycling. Now we have cyclists all over the place; but way back when our shoulders weren’t all that wide or very clean, and we didn’t have cyclists. Infrastructure was needed.”

Far from just a pie-in-the-sky idea, Bladholm (whose bio says, “she has staffed five governors”) can boast of having 450 supporters lined up behind her. She’s met with dozens of agency staff and was personally introduced to ODOT management by Director Matt Garrett. The Frog Ferry has support from major power brokers in Portland politics and river interests including the Port of Portland, Port of Vancouver, Zidell Companies, Working Waterfront Coalition, Vigor Industrial, Travel Oregon, City of Portland (Mayor Ted Wheeler), Portland Business Alliance, Central Eastside Industrial Council, and Daimler Trucks North America.

Thanks for reading BikePortland.

Please consider a $10/month subscription or a one-time payment
to help maintain and expand this vital community resource.

The name and logo artwork comes from Chinook myth.

Metro likes the idea too. Ford told commissioners today that, “We’re encouraged to see the private sector exploring climate-friendly transportation options that recognize a sense of place.” (The
“Frog” part of the name is based on Chinook mythology.) Ford said the 2018 Metro Regional Transportation Plan includes the ferry concept, which gives it, “A hall pass for further study.”

The idea of a water ferry was also the subject of a 2006 City of Portland study as part of the River Renaissance initiative. One key barrier cited back then was the lack of terminals and dock facilities and the high cost to built them. That’s why strong private sector interest makes the Frog Ferry concept different.

According to Frog Ferry documents, the concept would include seven stops between Vancouver and Lake Oswego, with future plans that could add more stops and extend the service to Camas, Troutdale, and St. Helens. The service would target commuters, errand-runners, tourists, and people in emergencies. “When and if the big earthquake happens we’ll have more vessels to move people around when all the bridges come crumbling down,” Yates said today.

Estimates of use and trip times are still approximate, but a presentation shows the trip between Rose Quarter and Vancouver taking 25 minutes. Lake Oswego to Vancouver would be 41 minutes. To drive the 20 miles between Lake Oswego or the Rose Quarter to Vancouver would take around an hour or 30 minutes respectively during typical commute traffic.

The ferries themselves would fit about 149 people and would have room for bikes. Bladholm told the OTC today that that equates to taking 500 cars off the roads, based on Columbia River Crossing project research that found 67% of I-5 auto traffic that crosses the Columbia River is single-occupancy.

To further understand the costs and benefits of the project, Frog Ferry backers are asking the State of Oregon to help fund a $650,000 feasibility study.

From Frog Ferry presentation.

“Rather than saying it’s too hard or too expensive,” Bladholm said today, “let’s be informed. let’s be curious, rather than say we simply can’t do it.” And Portland Spirit owner Dan Yates put it bluntly after expressing his dislike of government delays and regulations. “I’m willing to buy the first boat, but you guys have to do the study.”

Yates added that he envisions a system of 16 electric ferries that would ideally be have to be tightly integrated into the TriMet and Streetcar systems.

When commissioners had a chance to respond, OTC Chair Tammy Baney said, “I am floored by the passion behind it.”

Commissioner Alando Simpson also expressed support of the project, saying, “I think it’s a very realistic and practical concept.” Simpson also said he was concerned he didn’t see any representation from environmental justice advocates in Frog Ferry documents. “You’re going to have to figure out how you tap into those constituent bases,” he advised.

Frog Ferry’s timeline says they want to launch in 2020. That doesn’t seem likely, but I wouldn’t doubt Bladholm. She has the experience, skills, and connections to make this work. “We’re doing our part,” she told the OTC this morning, “Now we’re asking agencies to step up and help us.”

Learn more at

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • B. Carfree November 16, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    This is exciting stuff. I’m jazzed not so much because I adore ferries (I like them much more than I like buses, but I’m not really passionate about them), but because we desperately need to get people thinking and doing outside the box (cage?).

    This sort of project can bring a city alive as people begin to see possibilities for success rather than evidence of past failures. That latter thing will always be around, but it should never stop us from seeking better ways of doing things and better things to do.

    Three cheers for all involved. Go get ’em.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • John Lascurettes November 16, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve been in Portland 14 years and amazed everyday that there hasn’t been something like this in place.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • BradWagon November 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      There hasn’t because using ferries to travel along rivers just is not a thing that exists (save for extremely dense areas like New York, London, etc…). Ferries primarily only make sense for crossing water when other infrastructure is prohibitive, would be surprised if for some reason those economics are different for Portland.

      Recommended Thumb up 14

      • David Hampsten November 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

        There are Federal Transit Administration (FTA) & FHWA (interstate highway) grants and subsidies for ferry services – the ones in NYC are subsidized, as they are in Puget Sound and the rural Outer Banks of North Carolina. I’m guessing they can also get CMAQ grants for reducing air pollution in a major polluted city (Portland is still listed).

        Recommended Thumb up 5

      • laurie mitchell November 17, 2018 at 9:30 am

        We uust returned from the San Diego area where we were there as tourists. We loved our trips on the Coronado-San Diego ferry. I can envision Portland’s use of a ferry being loved by tourists as well — and as locals, too. Every grandma will take their grandkids on the ferryboat.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • BradWagon November 19, 2018 at 8:54 am

          That sounds wonderful. However, the service proposed between Vancouver and Portland is just about as opposite of the Coronado Ferry it could get.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • BradWagon November 16, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    “Now we have cyclists all over the place”

    I’m sorry??

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • David Hampsten November 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Boats/ships have been visiting Portland since its inception (probably as early as 1795; certainly around 1808/9 during the last Duke of Portland administration when Oregon was part of the British Empire; 1836 according to the Oregon Historical Society; 1851 was when the town was first incorporated). Then horses and carts. Trains and bikes came later, 1870s or so; the first paved streets in Portland were paid for by subscription. Cars later still.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Edward November 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        In Sellwood, Spokane ave. is basically already built to go straight into the river. Used to be a ferry there I hear.

        On many commutes I’ve dreamed of simply boating to downtown, but alas, where would I park it? Perpetual dilemma.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • Big Boat Up The River (and she won't Glenn down) November 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

          An inflatable pack raft/kayak would be cool… they have some that are less than 5 lbs and fit in a space the size of a dictionary. But that scenario gets ruined somewhat by the time & effort of inflation/deflation.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Gary B November 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I think those are some rosy estimates. I’m estimating about 13 river-miles between RQ and that spot in Vancouver. That means, with zero added time for undocking, turns, docking…that ferry would have to average 31 mph to make that in 25 minutes. That’s solidly speed boat realm. And the LO to Vancouver is far far worse. There are 5 stops in between. Making a ferry stop in 5 minutes would be amazing. So that’s 25 minutes just for the stops, leaving 16 minutes to make the trip. Yeah, 22-ish miles in 16 minutes? I won’t even bother crunching that number.

    This type of ferry will be nothing more than a tourist attraction. The distances are just too far to make it a practical transit option. Maybe replace Vancouver with St Johns and Swan Island and they’d be a little closer to reality?

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 16, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      You could take it wherever you want Gary B. I’m sure they would have stops downtown and in St. Johns, Swan Island, and so on.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • J_R November 16, 2018 at 4:43 pm

        Multiple stops as you suggest increase travel time, which compounds the problems Gary B. describes. The frequency of stops is exactly the problem that transit agencies are trying to solve with limited-stop express service. The same problems exist with the Portland Streetcar. Too many stops and low operating speeds. The ferry service has almost no chance of being an attractive option in terms of operating speed or efficiency for commuters. Add to that that the operating expenses of boats are astronomical.

        Recommended Thumb up 11

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 16, 2018 at 10:35 pm

          This is why they want to do a study. To figure out these details.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Matt S. November 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

            For the small price of only $650,000. A few commenters over a few minutes just provided, what I imagine, will be the bulk of their findings…

            Recommended Thumb up 14

    • BradWagon November 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      My thinking too, I have ridden a large boat from just Swan Island to South Downtown and that alone took half an hour.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • dan November 16, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Well, the jet boats are probably mostly idle in the winter, right? They might be able to average 25 mph. Agree they have to make it a non-stop service between Vancouver and Portland though.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Matt S. November 16, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Then not to mention cycle/drive time involved in getting to and from terminals. Say, 15 minutes to get to terminal, 30 minute trip, 15 minutes to office. Very well could be a 2 hour round trip. I don’t think it would be practical for everyday commuters unless they could partly telecommute.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Another Engineer November 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I’d also like to note that the ferry could be extremely disruptive to surface transportation if it’s high enough to require bridges other than the lower Steel to lift. A single bridge lift would like cause more delay than a ferry cot solve.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Another Engineer November 19, 2018 at 10:28 am

        Could solve*

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Tad Reeves November 28, 2018 at 12:03 am

      The ferry I recently took from Shenzhen (China) to Zhuhai across the bay was rated at 30 knots, which equates to ~34mph. And it wasn’t particularly newfangled, but could certainly get up and get out of its own way. So, acquiring new craft for this run, doing 30mph isn’t out of the realm of possibility, though I don’t know how many people will enjoy the river getting cleft at that speed all morning and all evening by high-speed ferries.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Matt S. November 28, 2018 at 7:03 am

      OPB discussed the proposed Ferry on Think Out Loud Yesterday

      Susan Bladholm was asked about the ferry travel time. She said a hypothetical 38 minutes. A caller asked about travel time to ferry, wait time, ferry transport, and travel time to destination post ferry dock. Bladholm danced around the question, although I don’t think intentionally. The talk about commute time seems precarious because it’s gaged against the time it takes to commute in a car.

      There was mention of other incentives to ride the ferry. WIFI, telecommuting, cafe onboard, beer sales, reduction of harm to environment, etc.. I just wonder if that’ll be enough of a sale for those living in Vancouver…

      I spoke with my buddy who is a local government policy wonk and he likes the idea of getting out of the car and commuting via ferry. He thinks if private enterprise is going to profit off the endeavour, they should be the primary backers of any feasibility study that moves forward and government funds should be limited.

      I guess I’m skeptical, or rather, living in a fantasy world. Because I’ve done the reverse commute: N Portland to Salmon Creek. The drive was comfortable, easy, and took less than 25 minutes. I suppose it’s apples to oranges when talking about the commute from Vancouver.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • q November 28, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Thanks for that recap.

        One thing that jumps out to me is the reduction of harm to the environment. Maybe if thousands of people stop driving, and maybe from Vancouver to downtown, but I’d guess almost certainly it’s not true from downtown Portland to Lake Oswego, which is a more natural stretch of river.

        And I still question the whole idea of spending public funds on things that encourage people to live in Vancouver and work in Portland.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Champs November 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Just how far inbound can the ferry get? On the east side, the logical stops are already used by industrial ships. On the west side, you’ve got R-zoning upriver from the Broadway Bridge, past the Steel there’s public park needing easement for private use, and of course you have to raise its lower span to get that far.

    You might say this is… a heavy lift.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Champs November 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Update: Russia appears to have low-slung “water tramways” with similar passenger specs that ought to clear the lower deck.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Lance Lindahl November 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      The boats being discussed for this service have a low enough profile that bridge lifts would typically be necessary. The exception would be high water events in the winter and spring. These boats would also be able to travel all the way to Oregon City.

      In regards to docking facilities, keep in mind that the legal public rights-of-way for many of the streets in the Central City extend all the way to the river itself. Even though many of these are not currently improved as streets, they could be opened up and used for dock facilities if the City had the political will and funding in place to do so.

      This includes parts of Tom McCall Waterfront Park as well. Much of the land here operates as a park under permission from City Council and PBOT. If PBOT needs it back for a transportation use, they can reclaim it.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Steve B. November 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Interesting tidbit about the Public ROW extending to the water!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dave November 16, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    This doesn’t sound terribly practical–but, having enjoyed many bike/ferry trips in Puget Sound, San Juans, etc., my wife and I will be first in line with our bikes if it ever sails. My favorite ferry rumor of several years ago–a Ridgefield-St. Helens run!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Dan November 16, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Surely we should be considering an ekranoplan, or a whole fleet of them!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • bikeninja November 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    The timing for this could be just right. As happy motoring goes into its inevitable death spiral in a couple of years then ferry service like this will be a perfect way to pick up the slack on a very un-congested transportation byway in our city.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Middle of The Road Guy November 19, 2018 at 8:27 am

      We’ve been hearing that for years. It would have happened already.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Socca November 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    The name and logo artwork comes from Chinook myth.

    How is this not cultural appropriation?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Dan A November 16, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Appropriation or appreciation, pretty hard to tell. Falls into the same bucket as the “Willamette”. Is that name problematic too?

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 18, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        Who owns “culture”?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Middle of The Road Guy November 19, 2018 at 8:27 am

          anyone with 1/1024 ancestry. Duh!

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Q November 19, 2018 at 9:05 am

      How is literally any reference to any culture “cultural appropriation”? Seriously, the internet pearl clutching has gone too far.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • q November 19, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      It does seem a bit weird to pull the Chinook stuff into the plan. It feels like pandering to me, something a marketing team would pursue after testing it with focus groups: “Native American imagery tested well with the demographic whose support we need. The Tilikum Crossing chose the same path, and is still viewed positively by 74% of Portland residents. The Chinook reference also implies we have the support of Native American groups, which will help counter environmentally-focused opposition.”

      People are becoming aware of cultural appropriation, so ironically, when a group that seems like it could be somewhat enlightened (such as one proposing alternative transportation) uses something from another group, there’s some implication and assumption that it was done with that group’s support. But I don’t see that group (Native American organizations) among the supporters.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Bryan November 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Vancouver BC has had commuter ferry service integrated into the city transit system for years.

    From the Translink Seabus website:

    “SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry that crosses the Burrard Inlet, connecting Downtown Vancouver with the North Shore. Each ferry can seat up to 400 passengers at a time, and departs every 15 minutes during the day.

    15-minute sailings will start at 6 a.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays and most holidays. 15-minute service will extend until 9:02 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay and 9:16 p.m. from Waterfront Station.

    There are two terminals: Waterfront in Downtown Vancouver, which connects with buses, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express; and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, which connects with an extensive network of North Shore buses. Crossing time is 12 minutes.”

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • SD November 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Wait… Did we already give up on the water slides?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Jim Labbe
    Jim Labbe November 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Cool. My kind of Columbia River Crossing!

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Jessie November 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Any ferry that can keep that kind of schedule goes fast and loud. There are people who kayak and row on the river. There are birds and animals that live on the river. It will be a money maker for some, and a destroyer of a way of life for others, without making a significant dent in traffic congestion.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • q November 16, 2018 at 10:20 pm

      I’m glad you pointed that out. South of downtown, Ross Island, Willamette Park, and much of the rest of the shoreline on both sides is significant natural wildlife habitat. That’s my priority. The kayaking, sailing, rowing and standup paddleboarding can manage better than the wildlife, but also deserve consideration. And for them and wildlife, it’s not just noise and speed that are problems, it’s also wakes.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        I’m also concerned about the pollution if conventional marine diesel engines are used.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Paul Cone November 19, 2018 at 6:55 pm

          The article mentions electric ferries.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • mark smith November 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Any ferry that can keep that kind of schedule goes fast and loud. There are people who kayak and row on the river. There are birds and animals that live on the river. It will be a money maker for some, and a destroyer of a way of life for others, without making a significant dent in traffic congestion.Recommended 1

    “Destroyer of your way of life”? I guess the giant transport ships make your way of life better?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • q November 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      There are no “giant transfer ships” south of downtown.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Jim Labbe November 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

        True but there are jet boats in the summer. Considering the cumulative impacts on near shore habitat of additional boat traffic should be addressed and may create some trade-offs but I wouldn’t assume it is insurmountable issue.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • q November 17, 2018 at 11:27 am

          I agree, it’s at least potentially not insurmountable.

          I wouldn’t use the jet boats’ presence as a reason to allow the ferries, though. They’re horrible to human-powered craft, natural habitat, and shoreline. They constantly violate no-wake rules, which are in place to protect other people on the river, and the shoreline. This is between downtown and L.O.–I assume north of downtown may be less of an issue.

          However, I’d love seeing a trade–ferries INSTEAD of jet boats.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • q November 16, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    I can see some tourist-type value between South Waterfront and the Esplanade/Convention Center.

    I’m no fan of the Portland Spirit after two recent incidents where the Coast Guard found it operated unsafely, with disregard to other river users (running through the Flugtag crowd, and then later nearly hitting a crew shell in the middle of a race. The jet boats don’t belong on much of the river at all, due to their noise and wakes, especially near Ross Island. So I’m instantly on guard seeing the Portland Spirit company associated with this.

    The idea that these would have any significant value after the big earthquake (which may be hundreds or more years off) is almost laughable.

    Mostly, we already know what needs to be done to improve transportation within the city, and this would be fun, but to me isn’t much more than a distraction given the tiny impact it would have.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Bald One November 16, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Two bicycles and one kayak (and 3 good lock sets) could be a good commuting set-up, especially if you are a few miles from the nearest bridge. Milwaukee Oak Grove to Lake O. Although we used to ride across the RR bridge there, since there actually is a perfectly serviceable car free bridge.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • q November 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      A friend of mine commuted for about a year by standup paddleboard from Willamette Park (walked there with board from home) to RiverPlace marina, where he kept a bike or skateboard, then used one of those to ride to the Pearl District. The training factor made it worthwhile for him.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Tom Hardy November 16, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Fast and loud? An electric boat should be pretty quiet and if it was using hydrofoils it could be fast and efficient as well with a very minimal wake. I think anything it hit just under the water would be toast though.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Mike Quigley November 17, 2018 at 5:38 am

    Sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky to me given their optimistic travel time estimates and the odd comment about getting around bridge collapse after the Big One. As if those collapsed bridges aren’t going to totally block any river passage except for, maybe, canoes and kayaks?

    But, I wish em luck.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Matt S. November 17, 2018 at 9:26 am

      I once told someone if the big one hits, I’ll swim across the river to get to my family. “Yeah right, there’s going to be so much debris in the water.” Hmm, didn’t think about that…

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Bjorn November 17, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Reading this article what jumped out at me is that Dan Yates is asking the city to subsidize his business development. You may recognize his name from his past and presumably current efforts to block the eastside esplanade. No thanks!

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Douglas K. November 17, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I’m highly skeptical that a multi-stop ferry route could work. Stopping a boat to load and unload passengers doesn’t go quick; it’s not a 30-second event like a bus or streetcar would be. I’m guessing each stop would add three to five minutes to the trip. That adds up to really slow service.

    I can see this MAYBE providing express service from Vancouver to Waterfront Park. But even then, there’s the question of how many people it would meaningfully serve. How far would commuters walk from the ferry to reach their destinations? Ten blocks, maybe? How many people traveling from Vancouver work within ten blocks of wherever the ferry lands downtown? People traveling with bicycles would find it more useful, but again: how many bicyclists will commute from Vancouver? I suppose catching MAX might be in the cards, if you want to walk between 5 and 10 blocks to make the transfer.

    Every few years somebody suggests an idea like this. It never pencils out though. I’m guessing the numbers won’t add up this time either.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Karstan November 17, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Long time coming! I can see the new “Go By Boat!” sign bow.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Sam Churchill November 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Frog Ferry says their Portland water taxi would reduce Interstate Bridge traffic by 500 vehicles. It wouldn’t make a dent in the 150,000 vehicles it carries daily. While a Water Taxi may not reduce congestion, it still could be a good idea.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Todd Boulanger November 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Im excited about having another shared transport mode that would not be held “bugetary hostage” to either the highway gang or freight rail priorities. Perhaps resiliancy (Interstate Bridge failure) or mitigation for building CRC2 crossing might be the hook to get it going. I would suggest adding to the study serving Ridgefield (port) given that region is Vancouver’s growth sink but with poor transit options.

    Though I worry this great idea might sink under its goodness: lack of SW WA backers, not terminating at Downtown Vancouve dockr, creating too much traffic to Port of Vancouver (no exisiting transit there), wake prohibitions slowing service speeds, the P&R lot sizes creating too great an impact and cost, …just a few from a brief scan of threats.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • J_R November 17, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      The best way for the backers to avoid being held “bugetary hostage” is to undertake the effort using their own money for the study and for implementation and operation of the entire project. Don’t forget to include the cost of the boats, the docks and other landside infrastructure, plus personnel (including training and certifications), and administrative/overhead and profit. Go for it. I’d rather have three HAWK signals that I know will work, rather than a study that says a ferry won’t work without significant public financial support.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Ron Swaren November 17, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    And, as obvious from the map, this route is about three times as far as the I-5 corridor. Been there on my own vessel. Took a long time, and that was just going to Waverly. not LO.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Jay November 18, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I commute on ferries regularly as I work in the Puget Sound area. I absolutely love them, such a relaxing way to travel. Sure they are not the fastest form of transportation, but being able to sit, relax and watch the beautiful scenery on my to and from work is very worth while. When I lived in Portland I often wondered why there was no ferry service with all of the available water ways.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chris I November 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

    “Rather than saying it’s too hard or too expensive,” Bladholm said today, “let’s be informed. let’s be curious, rather than say we simply can’t do it.” And Portland Spirit owner Dan Yates put it bluntly after expressing his dislike of government delays and regulations. “I’m willing to buy the first boat, but you guys have to do the study.”

    Yes, let’s be informed about the trip cost per passenger and subsidy per passenger, which is going to be astronomical. Ferries can make sense, when the geography is appropriate. In the case of this ferry, it doesn’t make sense because the route is actually longer than similar surface transportation options. If we really wanted a good commuter option from Vancouver, we would add a 3rd mainline to the rail corridor between PDX and Vancouver. Vancouver Amtrak to Union Station in 10 minutes. Another 5 minutes to a stop that could be added near OMSI. If you really wanted to go crazy, you could even add a stop in downtown LO another 10 minutes down the corridor.

    Maybe, instead of sinking money into modes that carry very few choice commuters with an extremely high subsidy, we can simply extend the yellow line into downtown Vancouver? A transit/local access bridge from Hayden to Vancouver would cost more up front, but would be infinitely more useful in the long run.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • q November 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Yes to all that.

      And ironically, while Bladholm is telling everyone else not to say, “…we simply can’t do it”, her own organization is saying exactly that, with its “You other people need to pay for the study we need. We simply can’t do it ourselves.”

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Bjorn November 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Agreed clearly the rail solution is far better than a water ferry here, if the city is going to be spending money that is what should be investigated. If the Portland Spirit folks want to investigate a ferry I encourage them to pay for it themselves. If they are actually concerned about improving multimodal transportation in Portland they could stop blocking the connection of the eastside esplanade trail and the springwater.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Glenn F November 19, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Might be a good idea if there are fewer stops…
    can’t there just be some volunteer focus group to figure this all out..$650,000 could be way better spent.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • soren November 19, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    This is a great idea but I think a monorail connecting NW Portland to Lake Oswego is a more urgent priority.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Gary B November 19, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Oh c’mon, soren, Elon can build us a hyperloop for a fraction of the cost!@

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • emerson November 20, 2018 at 3:54 am

    This won’t work, for the many reasons stated above. People want to believe in a simple easy fix to congestion. But this won’t work. They just want to keep driving and so will continue to hope a solution drops from the sky.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • DNF November 20, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    This makes zero sense when there’s a perfectly good rail line along that route, which is faster, cheaper, and can carry more people.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • dan November 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Great point! We already have a rail link from Vancouver to Portland, though admittedly the terminus on each end is not a very convenient location…

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • X November 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm

        The rail link also touches down in Oregon City. It’s possible to commute from there to Portland’s Union Station, arriving at 8:05 AM (41 minute trip) and departing at 6:05 PM for a 22 minute return trip. Costs $5.00 each way. That’s not the worst commute schedule I’ve ever seen. This is on the Amtrak Cascade train which does a bit better making the schedule than the Coast Starlight which would be a really aggravating way to commute.

        No $650,000 study needed.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mike Untz November 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    “10 years each with Business Oregon and the Portland of Portland.”

    The what of Portland?

    Recommended Thumb up 0