With local docks chock full, no moor places

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

June 21, 2006

Marinas at the ports of Hood River and Cascade Locks have already filled up and The Dalles’ facility is almost out of space.

What that means is that boat owners soon won’t have a place to permanently moor their boats at a marina on the Columbia River for the summer.

While the season generally brings full marinas, marina managers said the change this summer is how fast and how early slips have rented.

“It was May 8 this year that we were full and June 30 last year,” said Laurie Borton, marina manager for the Port of Hood River.

Five years ago the marina took until mid-August to fill. Borton said the time by which the moorage spaces are all taken has moved up during the past five years she has managed the marina.

The situation has resulted in a waiting list for moorage at the Port of Hood River, which has grown from 13 people last month to 25 this month.

That overflow is affecting the marina at the Port of The Dalles. Marina administrator Micki Bradley said they have been getting calls about moorage primarily from Hood River residents.

“We usually don’t reach capacity — at all,” she said. “In the past two weeks, I’ve put five boats along our side-tie dock and am down to four pull-in slips.”

She predicted those spaces would fill within weeks. The Dalles’ marina uses a different system than either Cascade Locks or Hood River, with capacity being measured by the length of boats rather than numbers of slips. Bradley said if she averaged the boat length at 20-foot-boats, then the Port of The Dalles facility can fit in 30-35 boats.

The Port of Cascade Locks has a 36-slip marina, which has already filled for the season. Marina Manager Kris Miller said they are generally full by April or May with many return renters each year. The highest demand at Cascade Locks is a waiting list for medium slips that fit a 28-foot boat.

“I have had people on the waiting list for those spaces for over a year,” she said.

She has a waiting list of 20 people for moorage. The Cascade Locks marina also has a 200-foot visitor dock, at which boats can moor for up to 72 hours and generally has space open. Miller said with the Columbia Gorge Racing Association booked for 10 events in the town this summer it still doesn’t affect the visitor’s dock most weekends.

“The Association rents two slips but they generally have boats they beach for their summer events,” she said. “But this weekend that dock will be full as well because they have the I-14 championships and the Ultimate 20 Nationals with two different classes competing.”

At 150 slips compared to the marinas at Cascade Locks and The Dalles, the Hood River marina is the big player on the river. The demand for parking a boat at Hood River has come from a combination of local and out-of-town residents.

As far as adding moorage at the ports goes, the marina managers said the decision would be up to port commissions. The decision depends in part on whether the demand continues or whether the request for moorage is a one-time summer trend.

For boaters who want to have a spot to moor their boat for the summertime, Borton advised they think ahead for the future.

“Of the number I have now, the people who return every season thought they were calling soon enough to get a spot,” she said. “That has changed.”

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