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Reported Obstructions and Alerts

DISCLAIMER: Obstruction removal is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner.  The agency, along with marine law enforcement may work with property owners on mitigation plans. The agency will selectively mitigate obstructions based on the location, type of boating traffic/frequency, ability to mitigate using equipment from land/water, and meeting the definition of "extraordinary hazard" to boating safety.  Rivers are dynamic and high water events frequently change the location of obstructions. Downed trees and other debris also provide important habitat for fish and marine life.  Each obstruction is evaluated individually after consultation with Marine Law Enforcement.  Where practical, marine deputies may attempt to create safe passage with recommendations for boaters, in addition to posting signage at nearby ramps. It's the boater/floater's responsibility to scout ahead, keep a sharp lookout and take early and substantial action to avoid being taken by the current into an obstruction. 


Lower North Santiam River 

The Marine Board, Jefferson Fire District, and the Linn County Marine Patrol are advising people floating in pool toys, inner tubes, or other inflatable devices and novice boaters to avoid the Lower North Santiam River near Jefferson between Greens Bridge and the town of Jefferson. There are large volumes of woody debris and strainers that cannot be cleared. View the map above for the North Santiam River to see locations of the obstructions.

Image of Dangerous Side Channel from the Lower North Santiam River 

Entrance to a particularly hazards side-channel where the bulk of the near-drownings occurred during the weekend of June 19, 2020.

Image looking downstream on the Lower Santiam River

An example of a tree that is especially dangerous for boats/float craft due to possible entrapment and could push a person underwater. This obstruction is in what was the main channel in previous years.


Willamette River -Newberg Pool RM 32 -->
The Oregon State Marine Board annually receives complaints from boaters grounding on shoals and sandbars on the Willamette River, especially near Willow Island and New Era Bar, located at RM 32 near Canby. From the surface, the river can be deceiving. The channel is narrow and takes an intentional effort to learn how to navigate. 

  • Line up the range markers on the banks of the river (to the north and south) to identify the channel.

  • Seasonal red and green buoys are maintained by the US Coast Guard and mark the channel at its narrowest point.

  • Depth finders and chart plotters are a valuable aid in determining underwater obstructions, hazards, and shoals that exist in many areas of the river.

  • Digital charts are available from NOAA for the Willamette River. Paper charts are also available at nautical supply stores, many fishing tackle shops, and will show historically shallow areas. Local boating retailers are an excellent source of information as well.

  • Note that all charts and all other references can become out-of-date quickly depending on winter flows and moving sands and debris. 

Oregon's rivers are dynamic and ever-changing. Boaters assume the obligation to know the waterway and operate responsibly. Operators should understand that an area has hidden obstructions until they have surveyed it, especially in tidally influenced areas and rivers or areas with stronger currents.

Statewide Low Water Levels Alert

Willamette River Newberg Pool Shoaling -Use range markers to find safe channel.


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