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News Release
Marine Board Adopts Rules for Willamette River, Proposes Others - 10/23/20

The Oregon State Marine Board met virtually on October 21 for their quarterly meeting which was live-streamed from the agency’s Salem office. The Board accepted a petition and opened rulemaking on Prineville Reservoir for a small, no-wake zone; adopted new rules for North and South Twin Lakes in Deschutes County and the Willamette River in the vicinity of Ross Island; and directed staff to propose additional rules for the Lower Willamette River.

In August, the Marine Board received a petition from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office and Prineville Reservoir State Park requesting the Marine Board establish a “No-Wake Zone adjacent to the Prineville Reservoir State Park Marina extending across the Reservoir to the west shore of West Robert’s Bay.” This slow no-wake zone would be in effect from May 1 through October 1. Local rules (Oregon Administrative Rule 250-020-0073) currently prohibit boaters from operating in excess of slow no-wake speed within 200’ of the shoreline on Prineville Reservoir, but the proposed rules would extend that restriction from shore-to-shore near the marina. The agency will solicit written public comments on the proposed rule language in the coming weeks.

The Board also adopted rules that allow for the use of electric motors on North and South Twin Lakes for boaters with disabilities. Boat Operations in Deschutes County (Oregon Administrative Rule 250-020-0091 is now amended to read, “A person must not use a motor to propel a boat unless the motor is electric, the boat is not operated in excess of slow no-wake speed, and the operator of the boat has a disability or operates the boat on behalf of a passenger who has a disability. Documentation of eligibility shall be produced at the request of any peace officer and includes any documentation of disability issued by a federal, state, or county governmental agency.” The proposed rule language reflects direction from the Board and the Board’s ongoing interest in ensuring boating opportunities for all Oregonians.  

After a vibrant and candid discussion on the multitude of stakeholder concerns on the Lower Willamette River, the Board took multiple actions. Rules were adopted that extend the Holgate Channel slow no-wake zone to include the entire channel, as it was previously unregulated north of the mouth of Ross Island Lagoon. The Board also adopted rules that create seasonal pass-through zones directly north and south of Ross Island. In these pass-through zones, boat speed is not limited, but towed watersports are restricted and personal watercraft (jet ski) operators are prohibited from prolonged use above 5 mph.

After adoption of the rules described above, the Board also directed staff to propose two additional regulations for the Lower Willamette. The first was to extend the adopted pass-through zones to also include the area between the two, therefore creating one large pass-through zone between the Hawthorne Bridge and the southern tip of the Waverly Marina. The second was to enact 100 ft. slow no-wake buffers around all docks and on-water structures between the Waverly Marina and Willamette Falls.

Additionally, wakeboarding and towing of inflatables would be restricted within 200 feet of these structures, and wake surfing would be restricted within 300 feet. The agency will solicit comments on the proposed regulations beginning on December 1, and the Board will formally vote, and potentially adopt, this second set of regulations at their next meeting scheduled on January 27, 2021

To view the agenda and other meeting materials visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Board-and-Public-Meetings.aspx. The meeting can be viewed on the Marine Board’s YouTube channel.

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