Bill resurfaces that would restrict use of Willamette River
With the weather improving for the season, local river-recreation enthusiasts are seeking to keep the spotlight on a failed effort in the past legislative session to ban wake-enhancing devices along a popular stretch of the Willamette River.
House Bill 4099 would have prohibited wake-enhancing devices between river mile 30 and 50 of the river, a stretch that runs from the popular Rogers Landing boat launch in Newberg to near West Linn.
Greg Waters, who works at Active Water Sports in Oregon City, says he is concerned the bill could return to Legislature.
"This would affect all my neighbors across the street and especially that live on the water," he said. "They don't just sit and look at the river, they are on their docks and on their boats every chance they can during our very short season."
The bill came about because some Wilsonville residents asked state Rep. Richard Vial to do something about the increasing amount of erosion due to the increasing size of boats and their wakes.
Other residents rallied around the cause, claiming that damage has been done to their docks because of the erosion caused by the volume of the wakes.
HB 4099 especially targeted wakeboarding, which involves riding a small, rectangular board behind a motorboat at speeds over 20 mph.
On Feb. 12, members of a House committee held a public hearing on HB 4099, where a representative of the Oregon State Marine Board testified: "There has been no correlation in the research that we have conducted of erosion being caused by wake-enhancing technology used by these wakeboard/wake-surf boats."
If such a bill were to pass within the next year, no law would be put into place immediately. Instead, the marine board would assign a task force to further study the impact of wakes and the claimed erosion.