PORTLAND, Ore. — The rising Willamette River sent lots of logs and garbage downstream.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the job of clearing logs off the upriver side of docks in downtown required long poles and a strong back.
Logs do occasionally float down the river in the spring, but not like this.
Just ask Rob Rich from Shaver Transportation.
“I am very surprised at how fast the river has gone up this time of year. It isn't uncommon in the winter time to see it rise rapidly, we've had a fairly dry winter in that respect, but the Willamette Valley is so saturated, and we've had such heavy rains that its really bounced the Willamette up very rapidly,” he said.
He added the logs are not a problem for the big freighters that move down the Columbia and Willamette, but tug boats need to watch out to avoid damaging a propeller.
NOAA expected the Willamette river in Portland, which usually hovers around 4 feet above the water gauge, to rise up to nearly 14 feet by Thursday.
Rich explained that the water gauge is not at the bottom of the river but the top. And the river is on average 40 feet deep. So, a rise to 14 feet means the Willamette will be 54 feet deep as it flows past Portland.
Portland Fire and Rescue agreed to take us on the water for a close up look, but first had to move a massive log that floated under their boathouse near the Hawthorne Bridge.
Out on the water, you can see that several logs are even bigger than they look from land.
We also found a boat working to pull logs off the dock at OMSI by the submarine.
“Since the river's come up its dislodged a lot of debris,” said Curtis Grant, a harbor pilot with Portland Fire and Rescue.
It has also swamped some homeless camps along the edge of the river below the Springwater Trail.