Locals hope abandoned ship cleanup revitalizes Hayden Island

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:21 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It’s a highly anticipated cleanup of the Columbia River on Hayden Island.

The U.S. Coast Guard is leading the way in removing two massive sunken ships in the Columbia River that have been abandoned for years, and recently sunk off Hayden Island.

In an operation that began this month, the two vessels, the Alert and Sakarissa, each over 100 feet long according to the Coast Guard, are finally getting taken out of the river. The Sakarissa was successfully hauled away on Monday morning.

The two vessels have caused a headache for those who live on the river like houseboat resident Ron Schmidt, who also heads the Waterfront Organizations of Oregon.

“This is the front door to our city and to our state and that’s what people saw when they came to Oregon,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says he’s thrilled Janzten Beach is getting this major clean-up. He adds he and other home and business owners along the river have worked hard to close this section of Jantzen Beach down because of how much the boats had deteriorated, and were being used by others.

With the illegal campers down here getting onto the vessels, opening up the hatches, cutting out valves and piping, inevitably the boats did sink.”

Schmidt hopes this massive cleanup of the two vessels will build momentum for other waterfront improvements on Hayden island.

“We’re not doing anything to build this island up that really could be as beautiful if not more beautiful than what it is on the other side,” he said. “So I think there needs to be political will and incentives for businesses.”