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Marine Board Votes for Slow-No-Wake within Holgate Channel
For Immediate Release -February 18, 2011
In a 3:2 vote, the Marine Board approved a proposed rule for a slow-no-wake zone within the Holgate Channel.  The Board was presented with various rule options after more than a year and a half of debate, attempts at achieving a collective compromise through an advisory group and numerous public meetings. 
Marine Board staff recommended a “compromise” rule at the October Board meeting that received very little support at a January hearing.  As a result, the Marine Board has come full-circle, proposing a rule option identical to a staff recommendation in 2009, which ultimately, the Board approved.  The staff recommendation amends OAR 250-020-0281 to establish a slow-no-wake zone within the Holgate Channel from a line extending northeast from the north side of the Ross Island Lagoon mouth to the east side of the channel, and to a line extending from the southern (upstream) tip of Ross Island due south to the Oregon Yacht Club.  This restriction does not apply to commercially operated vessels, including those owned or operated for sand and gravel operations nor to safety launches while accompanying an organized rowing or paddling program, club or school.  This part of the channel is narrower than the channel north of the lagoon entrance, with portions less than 300 feet wide with limited sight distance around the bend at Hardtack Island.
Under this new rule, education and enforcement are simplified, addressing safety and conflict issues brought forward by the petitioners.  This rule does not prohibit motorized operation in this portion of the channel but does prohibit higher speed towed watersports such as waterskiing and wakeboarding. 
Board member Trey Carskadon, who spent time on the Holgate Channel and attended many of the advisory group meetings commented, “I can see immediate benefits to commerce and tourism and I see this as a huge opportunity for the Marine Board.  I want to be able to look back and be proud of doing something good for Portland and good for the state.”  Carskadon went on to say, “The Holgate Channel helps define Portland as unique…there’s a huge growth in non-motorized boating that isn’t going to go away.  Why not designate this 1.5 mile stretch as a safe-haven?”
Several other Board members discussed for the record their desire to not restrict any one user group and wanting to find compromise that supported a coexistence, but unanimously agreed that it was “time to move forward” and take decisive action.
The new slow-no-wake rule for the Holgate Channel will go into effect May 25, 2011, before the Memorial Day Weekend.
For more information regarding the Holgate Channel rulemaking and a map of the depicting the slow-no-wake area, visit http://www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/admin/OSMB_Rulemaking_Newpage.shtml