Closures ahead for county ferry


September 23, 2021

The ferry Oscar B. will be out of service twice this fall, Wahkiakum County Public Works Director Chuck Beyer announced at the Tuesday meeting of the board of county commissioners.

The first closure will be next Monday, Beyer said, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for repair of a failing radar. Crews will also install heaters in the commuter cabin and inspect the hull.

A five-week closure will start November 2 and run through December 9, if necessary. During that time, crews working for Clatsop County will repair the ramp and some pilings at the Westport, Ore., landing and also dredge Wesport Slough in the vicinity of the landing.

In a related matter, commissioners approved the purchase of a spare engine for the ferry in the amount of $43,628.

In other business, Beyer reported that several large trees are leaning over Altoona/Pillar Rock Road, and nearby residents would like them removed for safety reasons.

"They're probably on our road right-of-way," Beyer said; "it will be a challenge to take them down."

Commissioner Lee Tischer, a retired county road crewman, said he knew of the trees and commented that their root systems have hampered road widening in the area.

Beyer said he would contact the people owning the land where the trees are growing and see about taking out the trees.

Wahkiakum Executive Director Stacey Lane presented a quarterly report to the county commission.

Among her comments, Lane said Chamber staff had a concept for use of the Community Center in Cathlamet in which morning hours would be dedicated to business uses, and afternoon and evening hours could be public use time.

Tischer, a member of the community center advisory committee, invited Lane to join the group for further discussion.

Lane also said the Chamber's Neewollah Days celebration would include a costume parade and trunk-or-treat at the high school parking lot on Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m., and a variety of contests at Erickson Park the next day.

Jim Coffee, executive director of the Cowlitz Family Health Center, said the center's clinics would administer third doses of covid-19 vaccines when that program starts.

Coffee and Chris Bischoff, director of Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services, agreed to support each other in storing vaccines in times of power outages.

The county has a backup power generator for use in power outages, Bischoff said, with automatic notifications to certain staff when outages occur.


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