An administrative handshake and formal agreement in early June between Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks and Recreation resulted in smiles from lots of recreational boaters. The agreement transferred ownership of the city-owned Swan Island boat ramp from the environmental services bureau to the parks bureau.
About 20 years ago, Environmental Services purchased a parcel of waterfront land to build a wet-weather wastewater treatment facility, but, several years after the purchase, the bureau decided to send all wet weather flow to the city’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant and never built the Swan Island plant. The Port of Portland operated the boat ramp until 1996 through a state grant, and the agreement that transferred ownership of the property to Environmental Services included the boat ramp at no cost with a proviso that the bureau operate the ramp until June 30, 2010.
After that obligation expired, the bureau started to declare the land and the boat ramp surplus property available for sale. At the same time, the parks department expressed interest in purchasing the boat ramp and two acres of adjacent property for wood chipping operations. The purchase price is $970,757, and Environmental Services will ask the City Council to declare the remaining five acres surplus and transfer it to Parks as part of the sale.
City officials are also smiling: “I’m happy that under our new property disposal policy a property which Environmental Services no longer needs will be put to good use by Parks, continuing to serve public recreation,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, and Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “This agreement serves multiple City needs with one acquisition – the public boat ramp, and a maintenance facility for Parks. I am pleased that the riverfront is being kept in city ownership, and Parks will continue to prioritize accessibility for community visitors in this area.”