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Mayor warns that police department will be patrolling boat ramp to check for social distancing

COURTESY PHOTO - In summer of 2019, a new boat dock at Meldrum Bar Park opened to the public in Gladstone.Gladstone officials reopened Medrum Bar Park to vehicles on Wednesday, May 13, but warned that any further violations of the governor's executive order could lead to another closure.

Large public gatherings and other health hazards led Gladstone officials to close the park to vehicles on April 8.

COURTESY PHOTO - On April 7, during the last evening Meldrum Bar Park was open to vehicles, a car gets flooded on the bar as the tide comes in. Gladstone officials closed vehicular access to the park starting April 8 until further notice, due to COVID-19 concerns."The Gladstone Police Department will be patrolling the area, monitoring and responding to complaints of any lack of social distancing," said Mayor Tammy Stempel. "In the event that the city finds that social distancing rules are being ignored, the city is prepared to close the boat ramp and vehicle traffic at Meldrum Bar Park again."

Concrete barricades were placed across River Road Drive during the April 8-May 13 closure of Meldrum Bar Park. Along the walking path, citizens could continue to visit the Willamette River or access the park's community gardens, but some citizens raised concerns about potential violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"Many members are disabled or older and cannot make the hike dragging plants and tools needed for acquiring food grown by their own hands," said Bill Osburn, a member of the Gladstone Garden Association. "Gardening is also the only way some of them get exercise. To deny access to them isn't in anyone's best interest and goes against the executive order from the governor."

With many other nearby boat ramps closed and the Columbia River closed for fishing, anglers from across the state were coming to Gladstone's boat launch, despite the governor's stay-at-home order to minimize the spread of COVID-19. City officials also reported gatherings of more than 100 people at the park who left trash throughout the area and human feces near closed restrooms.


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