The final barge to be built at Zidell Marine's South Waterfront fabrication building was launched into the Willamette Friday afternoon.
After speeches by staff and dignitaries, the June 16 noontime launch was delayed.
The metal plates holding it in place were cut, as usual, but the barge was stuck.
Workers tried to fix the blockage, then went to lunch.
Most of the crowd gathered on the banks wandered away. At 3 p.m. staff tried again and at 3:15 p.m. the craft almost imperceptibly began its passage down the ramp. It slid quietly into the river, with barely a splash.
Two tugs greeted ZM 277, the 277th barge built there, and turned it around to face downriver.
The barge will remain in Portland for two weeks for final work and then go to work in the Puget Sound.