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Navigation Obstructions on Inland Waterways

All outdoor recreational activities include risk, and boating is no different. Every time you step into a boat you accept this.  You reduce this risk by wearing a life jacket and other appropriate safety gear, and learning the basic skill and knowledge to navigate the risks. 

When you take a boat down a river, you offset the increased risk by taking more precautions. SCOUT THE WATERWAY BEFORE running it.  All rivers are dynamic.  Boulders move, trees fall, currents shift, and changing flows can increase or decrease difficulty.
The Marine Board works with local county sheriff's offices to review reported obstructions.   Not every log or snag can be removed due to safety concerns or excessive costs.  If an obstruction creates a serious hazard and cannot be mitigated, the Marine Board may choose to close the waterway to ALL boating.
Also...float toys, air mattresses, inner tubes and many rafts are not designed for use in rivers.  They do not provide adequate flotation and puncture resistance.  Using the right equipment, carrying the right gear, and gaining the necessary knowledge will help ensure your safety on the water.


Contact your local Marine Patrol Office to report an obstruction​

The Marine Board works with local county Sheriff's Offices and the public to report navigation obstructions.  The Marine Patrol will investigate heavily boated areas and make recommendations to the Marine Board for mitigation.  Not every log or snag can safely be removed.  If law enforcement deem a waterway too dangerous for recreational boating, the Marine Director has the authority to close the waterway to boating. 


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Notice to Mariners

Weekly Notice To Mariners -U.S. Coast Guard District 13


Notice -Issued March 2, 2011
WARNING TO: U.S. Registered Yachts and Sailing Vessels
Marad Advisory (2011-05) to Mariners: Risk to Vessels Transiting High Risk Waters

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Coastal Bar Web Cams & Bar Restrictions

NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard now have coastal bar web cams and bar conditions/restrictions for the following locations:

  • Columbia River -Cape Disappointment, WA
  • Tillamook Bar
  • Depoe Bay Bar
  • Yaquina Bay Bar
  • Siuslaw Bar
  • Umpqua Bar
  • Coos Bay Bar
  • Chetco Bar

Bar Camera Images and Latest Observations

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Columbia River Near Portland

Reported: 9/16/15

The Marine Board received notification of an "I-Beam" partially submerged near the old wingdam below Chinook Landing.  A boater has already collided with it and totaled their boat. The Marine Board is coordinating with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office to mark & Sign the beam while trying to determine who the property owner is.  Caution is urged if boaters are operating in this area. 


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Statewide Valley Rivers and Bays

SAFETY FIRST...Scout the River Before Launching
Watch for trees, root wads and snags, floating debris and other hazards.  Remember, rivers are dynamic, meaning they are constantly changing depending on rain, snow melt, erosion, and other factors.  Boaters should expect log jams, and other obstacles (in conjunction with deviation from normal river patterns) and need to know what to do when they encounter hazards to protect property and lives.
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Rivers with Consistent Naviation Obstructions

Some of Oregon's rivers are prone to natural navigation obstructions based on the topography and geology of the water basin.  
The hazards listed on this page will list rivers that have consistent log jams, strainers, or debris. 
The Marine Board works with local law enforcement marine deputies to identify obstructions and who will then name the obstruction based on:
  1. Waterbody
  2. Proximity to known landmarks vs. river miles
The Marine Board will then use these names to correlate onto maps for perspective.
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Molalla River System

 None reported at this time.


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McKenzie River System

McKenzie River below Deer Creek (44.237138, -122.059259) -Reported 11/23/15
Lane County Marine Patrol reported a fallen fir tree that lays bank-to-bank on the McKenzie River below Deer Creek.
Paddlers can get through a narrow passage, however; there are tree limbs that could cause entanglement.
This is on US Forest Service land and their representatives contacted the Marine Patrol to assess the obstruction.  The Marine Patrol deemed this a potential hazard that warrants mitigation
The Forest Service will hire a contractor to cut the limbs and cut what they can of the trunk to allow for safe passage.
McKenzie River below Bellinger Boat Ramp -Reported 8/10/15

Paddlers should portage over the gravel bar on river right well in advance of the obstructions that are on river left.  Attempting to paddle past them will likely lead to entrapment.  The current is very fast, leading less maneuverable craft directly into the root wads. 
Law enforcement advises jet boat operators to avoid attempting to motor past the obstructions due to shallow water.  The channel to the north of the island is not passable at this time.  Signs have been posted and the obstructions marked by law enforcement.  Due to inaccessibility for equipment, its not feasible to mitigate this obstruction.  The root wads are highly visible.  Keep a sharp lookout. 
----------------------------------------------McKenzie River at Eagle Rock - Reported 5/16/13
Location: 44.10.7197'N, -122.42.9308'W

A tree from the hillside has fallen into the river and is protruding into the river from the left bank.  Presently there is sufficient water to safely negotiate around it, but boaters are advised to use caution as water levels change.  Forest Glen and Finn Rock boat launches upstream have been posted with information signs.  Lane County Marine Patrol is monitoring the obstruction and will keep us advised.


McKenzie River Below Leaburg Dam -Reported May 15, 2012 -Ongoing

A large boulder is in the middle of the only chute/pathway directly below the boat slide downstream of the Leaburg Dam.  Extensive boulder field has developed into this channel, lodging the largest one.  As the water level drops, boaters can easily capsize when attempting to use the slide.  Authorities from ODFW and EWEB have been notified since the initial reporting and will meet again to discuss potential options.  

The dam is currently under construction and the middle and east side gates are inoperable.  The slide ramp below the dam is not usable because the water coming from the dam is being discharged on the same side.  The only access to the ramp is via the road across the top of the dam, which is currently closed. ​

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Santiam River System

North Santiam River in Downtown Mill City -Reported 3/10/15

A large concrete portion of a retaining wall has crumbled and is hanging on by rebar just above the river surface.  Boaters are advised to stay well clear of the banks.  The landowner and the city have been notified.  At this stage, the concrete is not an obstruction to recreational boating, but does pose a safety hazard due to the instability of the bank.   


North Santiam River Between Green's Bridge and Jefferson -Reported 3/5/15 -UPDATED 7/7/15

This obstruction was partially mitigated during the summer of 2014, however; logs and debris continue to accumulate and string along several hundred yards from the banks into the river.  People who are inexperienced, are on float toys or inflatable boats are urged to avoid this area altogether because these obstructions can easily entrap and puncture less maneuverable craft. Take out and portage around.

North Santiam River by Stayton (Garen) Island above Stayton - Reported 9/25/14 -UPDATE 7/7/15
Water hydraulics and overhanging branches are making the north channel of the North Santiam River around Stayton (Garen) Island dangerous to paddle craft and small boats. The hazardous area is approx. 1-2 miles above the Stayton Bridge.  Users are advised to take the south channel.  Please use extreme caution in this area.​
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Siltcoos River

None reported at this time.
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Rogue River System

None reported at this time.


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Umpqua River System


Effective immediately:

No person shall operate a boat for any purpose on the North Umpqua River from Baker Wayside Park downstream to Deadline Falls.”

This closure is in place until fire supression efforts have subsided and fallen trees can be mitigated.  This could take up to 30 days. 



North Umpqua below Soda Springs Dam - Reported January 31, 2014
& Updated on March 6, 2014

A large tree is blocking passage of the river just below Soda Springs Dam, above Boulder Flat, but is also upstream of the Boulder Creek Boat Ramp.  The Forest Service posted signs in the undeveloped locations alerting boaters to the obstruction.  Forest Service representatives report that the intention is to leave the tree in-place since it's location is in the Boulder Creek Wilderness and managed for primative recreation. 






​ ​

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Willamette River System

Marshall Island on the Willamette River -Reported 08/12/15

Willamette Riverkeepers reported two strainers in May that have not moved downstream and may pose a risk to boaters.  Located on river right at mile 167 across from "Browns Boat Skid."  In this section of the river, it bends toward the left, and the current sweeps into the obstructions.  Boaters are advised to stay river right and portage around as needed.  Lane County Marine Patrol signed the obstructions at nearby boat ramps.  Please keep a sharp lookout and scout ahead.  



Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge on the Willamette River near Harrisburg -UPDATE

A rock island formed over the summer and still remains, however a fallen tree and building log jam were removed. Union Pacific will be starting in-water work in the coming months to remove the old bridge support at the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge Crossing.  Due to the river dynamics over the summer, scouring occurred and moved the channel.  There are exposed rebar and old piling where the scouring occurred, so boaters are advised to keep a sharp lookout when transiting under the bridge.  The USCG is working with Union Pacific to address the hazards.  Check back for updates.


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Health Advisories

Blue-Green Algae Advisories
When are advisories issued?
The Department of Human Services Public Health office of Environmental Toxicology evaluates bluegreen algae test data to determine whether algal blooms present hazards to animals or human beings. DHS does not have resources to collect or test algae samples, but DHS often receives reports of testing done by private contractors, researchers or other government agencies. How long do advisories last?
Dangerous algal blooms may develop and disappear within a matter of days, or they may continue for weeks or months. The longest advisory period for any water body in Oregon to date began in early June and lasted into late November. The intensity of the bloom and the concentrations of toxin in a water body are not uniform. Often thealgaes are most dense around the edges of the water body, but wind or water currents may change the location of affected areas very quickly.

Usually a dangerous bloom is associated with a distinctbluegreen color and cloudiness in the water. Algal blooms often produce large floating masses of green, yellow or bluish green slime. Visibly affected water should be avoided whether or not there is an official advisory in place.
Blue-Green Algae Health Concerns in Oregon- frequently asked questions about blue-green algae

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Caution Urged for Dory Boats and Surfers

Cape Kiwanda

The Dorymen's Association and local surfers are working together on solutions to prevent
accidents on Cape Kiwanda.  Tragedy hit the Pacific City cove on July 6, 2008 when a young surfer was seriously injured when a dory boat prop struck him.
Improved signage, better coordination between user groups and partnerships with local business to help distribute brochures with safety messaging have been developed to improve safety.  

Local users know the risks of being on the beach.  The Dorymen's Association and local surfers want to help educate and inform vacationers and out-of-towners (beach combers, kayaks, swimmers, waders, kite surfers, etc.) about the dory boat launching/beach landing, and being more aware of beach safety.  Both groups want to help make the beach safe for everyone, and not impose regulations that prohibit any user group from doing what they enjoy.
For more information about the Dorymen's Association, visit:  www.pcdorymen.com

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North Santiam River Report

 The North Santiam River Guides Assiciation offers a monthly river report with information about the best channels to drift, areas that might get less experienced boaters into trouble, as well as how the fish are biting! It's a great resource for all boaters.
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Tualatin River

 Fallen tree -Fields Bridge in Clackamas County -Reported 4/20/15 

A fallen tree was reported on the Tualatin River, upstream from Fields Bridge in West Linn, behind 23044 SW Ulsky Rd.  This area is used primarily by paddlecraft and is passable.  The tree is also visible.  The Clackamas County Marine Patrol deputies are assessing the obstruction and will make recommedations for future mitigation.



The Tualatin Riverkeeper reported seven separate log jams to the Washington County Marine Patrol who forwarded the information to the Marine Board. 

The log jams are in the following locations along the Tualatin River:

Click on the coordinates above for an aerial view of the navigation obstruction.

In all of these log jams, law enforcement report that boaters cannot safely navigate around the obstruction and portage may not be possible.  In many of these log jams, there's a large volume of trees.  Boaters are urged to plan ahead and avoid these areas.  As the water levels continue to drop into the summer, these logs won't be going anywhere. 


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