ORE. (June 6, 2014) – Dredge
Oregon Prepares for New Life
of it as the mechanical equivalent of a heart transplant. Replacing the inner
workings that power the Dredge Oregon will allow it to more efficiently and
effectively maintain the region’s vital lifeline with international markets –
otherwise known as the navigation channel. Starting this week, Harbor
Acceptance Testing will stress test the Oregon before it begins the next
chapter of its already long life on the river.
1965, the Dredge Oregon has been the workhorse of the Columbia River, removing
sand bars and other navigation hazards from the navigation channel. The dredge
operates around the clock, typically from June through October each year,
working from Tongue Point near Astoria and inland 103.5 miles to the Portland
Harbor. In its lifetime, it has seen consolidation of the Port with the
Commission of Public Docks, eruption of Mt. St. Helens and deepening of the
channel to 43 feet. But the Oregon was pushing 50 at a time when the average
age of a dredging vessel is 25 years.
Port initiated an ambitious repower project in November 2012. In two phases,
work was performed locally to replace the main engine and pump, generators, and
a variety of other key components. The investment in upgrades will allow the
Dredge Oregon to operate cleaner and more efficiently. It will reduce diesel
particulate emissions by 88 percent and lower greenhouse gas emissions by 40
the Harbor Acceptance Testing, the Dredge Oregon will be in the Willamette
River simulating full scale operations using a small, governed pipeline. Water
will be pumped during the testing, but the simulation will not involve any
actual dredging and environmental precautions will be taken to ensure that the
tests do not disturb fish or sediment. All aspects of the operation are fully
vetted and closely monitored.
Port serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ local sponsor of the federal
navigation channels of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The Port owns and
operates the dredge under contract with a crew of 42 employees. It is a
non-propelled, cutter (suction) dredge with a steel superstructure and hull
capable of dredging 1,000 to 1,200 cubic yards of material per hour.
to road maintenance, dredges help ensure safe and efficient passage of ships
carrying cargo to and from points around the globe. America’s Marine Highway
System, as designated by the Maritime Administration, consists of more than
29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways and the Columbia and Willamette
rivers are a critical part of that system. Approximately 42 million tons of
cargo moves through the deep draft lower Columbia River annually, valued at
roughly $20 billion.
more information about dredging and the Dredge Oregon, visit the Oregon History
Museum’s new exhibit “Working on the River,” or visit the Port’s website at www.portofportland.com.
About the Port of Portland
Established in 1891 by the Oregon Legislature, the Port of
Portland owns four marine terminals, three airports (Portland International,
Hillsboro, and Troutdale) and five industrial parks. The mission of the Port is
to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient
cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets.