Ship boat

Locals hope cleanup of derelict ships will revitalize Hayden Island

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – This is a highly anticipated Columbia River cleanup on Hayden Island.

The US Coast Guard is leading the way by removing two huge sunken ships from the Columbia River that have been abandoned for years and recently sank off Hayden Island.

In an operation that began this month, the two vessels, the Alert and the Sakarissa, each more than 100 feet long according to the Coast Guard, finally got out of the river. The Sakarissa was successfully towed Monday morning.

Both vessels have caused headaches for those who live on the river, such as houseboat resident Ron Schmidt, who also leads Oregon’s riverside organizations.

“It’s the gateway to our city and our state and that’s what people saw when they came to Oregon,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says he’s thrilled that Janzten Beach is benefiting from this major cleanup. He adds that he and other home and business owners along the river have worked hard to close this section of Jantzen Beach due to the deterioration of boats and their use by others.

With illegal campers here boarding ships, opening hatches, cutting valves and pipes, inevitably the boats sank.

Schmidt hopes this massive cleanup of the two ships will build momentum for further waterfront improvements on Hayden Island.

“We’re not doing anything to build this island which really could be as beautiful if not more beautiful than it is on the other side,” he said. “So I think there has to be political will and incentives for business.”