Board looking at options other than a bridge for Canby Ferry alternative; seeks public input on ways to keep the ferry open

At a public listening session on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 6-8 p.m., the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners hopes to hear comments and ideas from the public on whether to keep the Canby Ferry operating and, if so, how to reduce the funding gap.

The meeting will be held at the Canby Foursquare Church, 2350 SE Territorial Road in Canby.

The discussion is coming on the heels of a year-long feasibility study of options for crossing the Willamette River at the location of the Canby Ferry. The findings were reported to the public on Jan. 15 and to the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 30.

The study, which was prompted by the fact that the Ferry is expensive to operate, looked at three major options:

  • Continuing current ferry operations
  • Closing the ferry
  • Building a toll bridge

At a Jan. 30 planning session, the Board agreed to take the idea of a bridge “off the table” in light of strong public opposition

As Board Chair Jim Bernard explained, “We’re not going to consider a bridge, but the status quo is also not an option. We need to explore other alternatives.”

Commissioner Paul Savas noted that options were raised by members of the public at the Jan. 15 meeting, including a local taxing district, and he’s looking forward to hearing more about them and other possibilities. But, he said, “We need to let the public know that continuing long-term with the status quo is not an option.”

It costs the county an average of $400,000 each year to operate the ferry, and the ridership averages only 200 passengers per day. The ferry cannot operate when the river level is above 70 feet or during inclement weather. It costs motorists $5 per vehicle for a one-time, one-way trip, although a 20-trip punch card can be purchased for $60.

More information about the study, including materials and a video from the Jan. 15 public meeting and an audio recording of the Board’s Jan. 30 planning session, is available online at www.clackamas.us/transportation/cfalternatives.html.

Contact: Stephen Williams, Transportation and Development
Phone: 503-742-4696 
Email: swilliams@clackamas.us

Contact: Ellen Rogalin, Public and Government Affairs
Phone: 503-742-4274
Email: ellenrog@clackamas.us