Frog Ferry provides more information on potential Willamette River service

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 6:31 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The idea of using rivers around the Portland metro area for public transportation is gaining steam. Susan Bladholm, prospective operator Frog Ferry’s president, said it would provide a way to cut down on traffic.

“We need to provide more and better connections for people to the downtown core,” Bladholm said. “We’ve got to activate our downtown and our waterfront and get more foot traffic to downtown Portland.”

To update its progress, Frog Ferry hosted its first-ever Portland Ferry Conference on Tuesday. Leaders brought in experts to discuss what it would take to make public transportation on the water possible.

SEE ALSO: Plan for commuter ferry service between Vancouver, Portland moves closer to reality

“For six years the ferry leaders have said, ‘We want to help you,’” Bladholm said. “‘We don’t understand why Portland doesn’t have a ferry service.’”

One of those with experience is Paul Brodeur, who directed passenger ferries near Seattle. He said as long as the management provides all the pieces necessary it can work here.

“Ultimately we can implement a ferry service when all that comes together,” Brodeur said. “It’s been done tried and true all over the country. All over the world.”

One major piece Frog Ferry still needs is significant federal funding that is available. But that is only open to them once they have a public partner like the city of Portland.

“We’re going to be talking a little bit about, ‘Hey, how do you develop a culture around ferries?’” Bladholm said. “Basically, showing them the feasibility is there.”

Frog Ferry still has a goal to begin service by 2025.