One of the beloved Columbia River sternwheelers might be taking its final cruise.
In a Facebook post from the Port of Cascade Locks, a deal is trying to be reached before the December 31st, 2022 contract deadline.
Here’s some of the verbiage discussing the situation between the Port and the sternwheeler’s parent company AWI
The Port of Cascade Locks values the presence of the Sternwheeler in Cascade Locks. The Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge was modeled after the legendary Bailey Gatzert, the fastest paddle sternwheeler on the Columbia. Its value to the community since its construction has been shown in economic development through tourism and community events. The community of Cascade Locks is proud to have this iconic asset. The Port has gone to great lengths to maintain the vessel in line with that while also ensuring its operational feasibility.
The Sternwheeler at present time requires a large investment. The commission is faced with a complex decision in light of this and is committed to a solution best for the community. It discussed the use of ARPA funds appropriated by Senator Thompsen for the repower of the vessel and is currently purchasing engines with that funding.
AWI’s contract with the Port expires on December 31, 2022. The Port has engaged in long contract negotiations with AWI to date and is disappointed an agreement has not yet been reached.
An article from KOIN 6 said that in 2018, Portland Spirit sent a proposal to the Port of Cascade Locks to extend operations for 15 years and to finance the $3 million cost of repowering and interior remodeling of the vessel.
“We loved operating the Port’s historic vessel for the past 16 years,” Portland Spirit General Manager Dennis Corwin said. “We don’t know when the Sternwheeler will operate again in the future, but all our wonderful employees in Cascade Locks will be offered employment in Portland.”
My wife and I enjoyed taking the Columbia Gorge sternwheeler on our anniversary last year and it was a wonderful experience. I’m hoping that both parties can come to a resolution because seeing the Columbia Gorge sternwheeler on the Columbia River is quite a treat.
You can read more details on the story here.
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