Hull 23 - Buena Vista Ferry

June 03, 2011 - Delivery

May 13, 2011 - Arrival at Buena Vista Ferry Landing


May 14, 2011 Statesman Journal Article

A tugboat pushed the new Buena Vista Ferry through Salem at a quick clip early in the afternoon on Friday, May 13, 2011. Crews hoped to get the ferry to its home slip in Buena Vista that day, while Marion County aims to have it running and ready to transport vehicles by early to mid June.

It was a scene out of the 19th century as each river craft greeted the other.  The Willamette Queen sternwheeler gave a series of greeting toots, and the tugboat answered the salvo under sunny skies above a relatively placid river.

The new Buena Vista Ferry floated through Salem during the early afternoon today, and under the Independence Bridge around mid afternoon en route to its permanent slip.  Crews from the ferry’s builder, Diversified Marine, Inc., waved to a handful of onlookers stopped on the Union Street Bridge to take in the unique river traffic. Others took in the view from their own riverboats or from the sternwheeler.

Marion County Public Works Capital Projects Manager Rod Bray said circumstances permitting, the crews hoped to have the craft to its slip by day’s end.  At this point the county appears ahead of its original conservative timeline for operations. Regular service is anticipated to resume in early to mid-June with a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration in late June.

The ferry’s history runs back to the 19th century, with the previous craft operating from 1955 through last year. That ferry was towed down river to Portland last week. Builders of the new ferry, Diversified Marine, Inc., towed the old one and will salvage it.

The ferry is one of only three remaining on the Willamette River; Wheatland and Canby ferries are the others.

Marion County officials noted that the Federal Highway Administration’s Ferry Boat Discretionary Fund and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 paved way for the replacement, which transpired through two separate contracts – one for shore-side improvements and the other to manufacture the new vessel.  Oregon Department of Transportation managed the project with assistance from Marion County Public Works.

The Buena Vista Ferry provides a four-minute shuttle service crossing of the Willamette River connecting Marion County and Polk County.  Launch location in Marion County is 5 miles west of I-5 via the Talbot Road exit (Exit 242) and connecting with Buena Vista Road.  Launch location in Polk County is in the township of Buena Vista, on Willamette Ferry Street just south of Independence.  Marion County considers the Buena Vista Ferry an important link in the county’s rural transportation system to facilitate regional movement of people, goods, and motorized vehicles, as well as for recreational use.  The new ferry will operate longer each day and year-round, to the extent possible considering water levels and weather.


May 2011

Passing the Wheatland Ferry on the Willamette

Through the Locks

Up the river to the Willamette Falls/Oregon City Locks - May 12, 2011


Taken May 6, 2011

Launching the Buena Vista Ferry from the deck of Barge ZB205 - 100 ton lift

May 2011 - Prelanch

March 2011

March 2011 - Starting to outfit hull

Feb 2011 - Lifting Buena Vista Ferry Hull onto deck of ZB205 for outfitting