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PORTLAND -- After months of dry weather and no rain, the Columbia River has been running unusually low, exposing more sandbars and islands.

In his ten years with the Multnomah County River Patrol Deputy Scott McDowell has never seen so many sandbars in the Columbia River.

One sandbar near the Interstate 205 bridge looks like more like a new island in the river. Another has left what should be a floating dock high and dry.

While some boaters are choosing to keep their boats off the river, Multnomah County River Patrol has no choice.

We can t get our boats out. The fire boat can t get out of the fire house to get out and respond on calls because the water is so low right now, McDowell said, We can get our small boat out or our big boat.

And McDowell says that s a challenge, considering the river patrol is getting daily calls about boats running aground.

Even with the coming rain, he doesn t expect the river level to return to normal for at least another month.

In the meantime, the river patrol warns anyone heading out onto the river to stick to the main channel and take it slow.

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