Houseboat sunken vessel pose problems

Houseboat sunken vessel pose problems

first_imgRIDGEFIELD — Most area residents are probably familiar with the story of the ill-fated Davy Crockett, beached and broken on the Columbia River shoreline.Not every languishing boat turns into a multimillion-dollar federal recovery effort, but there are no shortage of mini-Crocketts.One currently sits on the bottom of Lake River, just downstream of the main access bridge to the south end of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The 32-foot cruiser sank Saturday, right alongside a houseboat that had been illicitly towed to state-owned aquatic land just last month.Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Neiman said the U.S. Coast Guard stepped in to minimize the threat of oil leaking into the river.The houseboat owner is Lance Balderree, Neiman said.“The Coast Guard federalized the response,” he said. “They hired a contractor Friday night and took diesel, fluids and pollutants off the boat as it was sinking.”He said he is planning to work with the state Department of Natural Resources to have the vessel removed from the river bottom. The DNR operates a $1.7 million derelict vessel program, which helps local jurisdictions remove relatively small threats to marine safety or the environment. “We are going to try to recover (the cruiser),” Neiman said. “It’s going to be a lot harder to do. It would have been easier if it was floating.”last_img

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