A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A riverfront update: Look at that log pile

Written January 21st, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The pile of logs and other debris under the Albany railroad bridge on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

As you would expect, the pile of trash, logs and smaller bits of driftwood under the Albany railroad bridge on the Willamette River is getting bigger this winter.

On a bike ride along the Dave Clark Riverfront Path in a cold drizzle on Saturday, I took a look at the pile from the bank under the bridge. Once again I’m wondering how big the pile is going to get before somebody does something to dislodge it.

Since I last took note of this phenomenon along my riverfront beat last September, the pile has grown by about one-third its former size. And clearly, this pile is not going to go away by itself.

High water is not enough to float this mess and carry it downriver. Instead, more stuff washes up here when the river runs high.

This probably doesn’t matter, especially now when there’s little boating on this stretch of the Willamette. But next summer, people floating downriver on tubes or in canoes and kayaks will want to take care not to get caught here.

If the current pushes their craft into this debris, it likely would be hard for people to get loose.

The last time I inquired, the Oregon State Marine Board showed little interest in this potential hazard to river navigation, except to say that if it does become a problem, it would be up to the party responsible for the bridge to get rid of it.

In 2012, the Portland & Western Railroad paid to have a similar logjam removed from the center pier of the bridge. Whether the railroad eventually takes care of this one, on the pier closest to the right bank, we’ll just have to wait and see. (hh)

Looking under the 1921 railroad bridge in Albany today, on Jan. 21, 2023.



5 responses to “A riverfront update: Look at that log pile”

  1. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    I’m sure it will get taken care of closer to summer after the river goes down. It would be pointless to do it before. It happens every year not just recently. The only reason I am aware of it is because of how much time I utilize our beautiful river. Or maybe I should say use to, the homeless population has grown to the point I don’t feel as safe as I’d like to on our river banks.

  2. George Pugh says:

    The jamb looks like a wonderful palette for Albany’s gravel-bar artist.

  3. Cap B. says:

    As long as Albany (per se) can have new Wine Bars downtown, people in charge will not focus on the practical side of life…such as doing something about a log jam that might damage the bridge or cause a kayaker or canoe-er to get caught in it. I know you are speaking of a Railroad Company and the State Marine Board. I am using Albany as an example of what people focus on…I’m not saying they are responsible for the log jam.

    • DSimpson says:

      I’ve read this comment a few time now, and can only conclude you intentionally based it on a non sequitur. I’ll take it from here– as long as Albany has a carousel downtown, city officials will continue to ignore the probable proliferation of bellybutton lint plaguing our local area.

  4. David Cross says:

    You wrote a story titled “Check That Pile Of Debris” on February 16, 2022 in which you conclude: “steer around the pile, or otherwise, don’t worry about it”. On September 22 of last year you wrote again of the upstream flotsam wedged against the railroad bridge saying: “the logjam is one of the visual attractions on the Dave Clark Park”. In your riverfront update penned January 21, 2023 you refer to this log pile as a “potential hazard”. Perhaps your continued attention to this potential deathtrap will alert the Oregon State Marine Board to assume or assign ownership for this mess before a preventible tragedy occurs.


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