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Marine Board Seeks Public Comment for Sellwood Bridge and Holgate Channel Rules
For Immediate Release -3/2/12
The Oregon State Marine Board is seeking written public comment through March 30 on two rules affecting boat operation on the Willamette River in Multnomah County, both listed under OAR 250-020-0280, and a clarification on the exemption of commercial vessels from numbering requirements under OAR 250-010-0150.   A public meeting on the issue will be held in Portland on March 20 and will accept public testimony.
The first proposal establishes a safety zone adjacent to the Sellwood Bridge construction project.  The rule will close boating in the area directly beneath the temporary work bridges which may create unusual and significant hazards to recreational boaters.  The rule would create a slow-no-wake zone through the construction area.  This rule will sunset at the completion of construction in December 2015.  The rule does not prevent commercial or recreational navigation up or down the river.  The Marine Board seeks public comment on whether other options should be considered for achieving the rule’s substantive goals while reducing the negative economic impact of the rule on small businesses.
The second proposal amends the rule for the Holgate Channel (OAR 250-020-0280(2)) which limits boat operation in the channel and Ross Island Lagoon in Multnomah County, but specifically exempts commercial vessels.  This designation is inconsistent with ORS 830.115(3)(a) which states that passenger vessels under 100 gross tons may not be exempted.  The proposed rule clarifies the inconsistency by specifically exempting federally documented commercial vessels such as those operated for sand and gravel operations, but not passenger vessels of less than 100 gross tons.
The third proposal clarifies the current practice of exempting federally documented commercial vessels from state numbering requirements.  The exemption, which is implied in statute, will be clarified in rule.
A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, beginning at, 6 p.m. in Room C of the Portland Building, 1120 SW Fifth Ave.  Written comments will be accepted until March 30 at the close of business.  Written comments can be submitted via email to osmb.rulemaking@state.or.us or by U.S. mail to June LeTarte, Rules Coordinator, 435 Commercial Street NE, Suite 400, P.O. Box 14145, Salem, OR 97309-5056.  Comments via telephone cannot be accepted.