Portland Parks & Recreation has closed one of the two sets of ramps on the Eastbank Esplanade until further notice.
People using the path today were given no prior warning before coming to chain-link fence and sign announcing the closure. A QR code on the sign links to a page on Parks’ website that says, “Due to a safety hazard, related to low water levels in the river, there is currently no northbound or southbound access along the Eastbank Esplanade (between the Steel Bridge and the Burnside Bridge). Please use an alternate route.”
This is the ramp just south of the Duckworth Dock. That dock is still open, you just have to access it from the south.
According to the National Weather Service, the current stage of the river (measured at the nearby Morrison Bridge) as of 1:30 pm today (Wednesday) is 1.28 feet. The NWS defines “Low” stage as 1.0 feet. The previous three days of this week, the river had been even lower, reaching a stage near 0 feet just yesterday. That level was among the top 20 or so lowest ever recorded by the NWS.
The forecast (right) shows water levels will increase steadily over the next few days.
Just three months ago, this same section of the Esplanade closed due to high water levels.
The ramps on the Esplanade between the Steel and Burnside float on the river, so Parks must monitor them to make sure the inclines and declines are within a safe range for all users.
Keep this closure in mind when you plan your route. The best detour is to either head over to the west side of the river via the Steel Bridge path or stay on the surface streets through the Central Eastside.
UPDATE, 3:53 pm: A reader says they were on their morning commute Tuesday morning when they saw police activity and a dead body at the end of the Duckworth Dock. By that afternoon the closure had gone up. We have not confirmed this with Parks yet.