PORTLAND – A large, flooded portion of Portland’s popular Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade will remain closed "indefinitely," according to officials with Portland Parks and Recreation.
The gangway and floating dock was closed last Tuesday to all cyclists, joggers and pedestrians as a safety precaution. That section starts north of the Morrison Bridge and stretches south of the Steel bridge.
“The area affected is approximately 1000-to-1500 feet of floating territory that the rising water has made impassable,” said Mark Ross, a spokesman for Portland Parks & Recreation.
Initially, the closure was expected to last about a week, but that has now been expanded.
“Portland Parks & Recreation's primary concern is for the safety of everyone using the area, and will keep the floating platform closed until the water subsides. High water may be exacerbated by the recent rains, and hot weather could accelerate snowmelt, further prolonging high water conditions,” Ross added.
Detours were in place to route people around the closure. (See closure map below)
This marks the first time in the Esplanade’s history that rising water has forced such a closure.
The Esplanade isn't the only popular area impacted by the high water. Sellwood's Riverfront Park has transformed into a kayaking pool instead of a picnic area. The picnic tables were underwater Monday and the beach was gone.
The Willamette River is currently running around 17 feet. Official flood stage is 18 feet.
The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning for the Columbia River last week, after that river passed 16 feet, which is officially flood stage.
Flooding along the Columbia forced officials to close camping and picnic areas just before the popular Memorial Day holiday. People were also warned to be especially careful if boating on the river and not to go swimming until water levels drop.