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City agreement will keep the Swan Island boat ramp in service

News Release

June 8, 2016
For more information:
Linc Mann, Environmental Services, 503-823-5328,
Mark Ross, Parks & Recreation, 503-823-5300,

The Portland City Council today passed the first reading of an agreement to ensure that the city-owned Swan Island boat ramp continues providing service to recreational boaters. The agreement transfers ownership of the boat ramp from the Bureau of Environmental Services to Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R).

The ramp is on a parcel of waterfront land Environmental Services purchased 20 years ago to build a wet weather wastewater treatment facility as part of the city’s program to control combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River. Several years after the purchase, Environmental Services decided to send all wet weather flow to the city’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant and never built the Swan Island plant.

The Port of Portland operated the boat ramp until 1996 through a grant from the Oregon State Marine Board and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agreement that transferred ownership of the property to Environmental Services included the boat ramp at no cost, but the terms of the original grant required the bureau to operate the ramp until June 30, 2010. After that obligation expired, Environmental Services started the process of declaring the land and the boat ramp surplus property available for sale.

During that process, Portland Parks & Recreation expressed interest in purchasing the boat ramp and two acres of adjacent property for wood chipping operations. The purchase prices is $970,757. Environmental Services will ask City Council to declare the remaining five acres as surplus and transfer it to Portland Parks & Recreation via a sale.

“I’m happy that under our new property disposal policy a property which BES no longer needs will be put to good use by Parks, continuing to serve public recreation,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish.

The Swan Island boat ramp will be the third general use boat ramp in the Portland city limits managed by Portland Parks & Recreation. The property acquisition also addresses another Parks need.

“This agreement serves multiple City needs with one acquisition—the public, boat ramp, and a maintenance facility for Parks. I am pleased that the riverfront is being kept in City ownership,” said City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Portland Parks & Recreation will continue to prioritize accessibility for community visitors in this area.”