PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Anyone who lives in Portland and works in Vancouver — or vice versa — can tell you all about the traffic they run into on I-5 just about every day.
Now, some people are pushing for a high-speed commuter ferry service from downtown Portland to downtown Vancouver as an alternative to driving.
According to Friends of Frog Ferry, not only is the ferry on the Willamette River convenient, but it’s also a more natural way of moving people between the two cities.
“We are river people,” Susan Bladholm with Friends of Frog Ferry said. “It’s why Portland and Vancouver were founded here on the river. And really, we’ve neglected those roots. We’ve seen the river as really an obstacle to get over and around rather than getting down to the river bank.”
The ferry could hold nearly 150 people and get them from Portland to Vancouver in 38 minutes. Some of the amenities would include coffee and WiFi — and adhere to a strict commuting schedule, something the freeway can’t do.
“You know you’re going to arrive in a certain amount of time,” Bladholm said. “You’ll have a nice cup of coffee and you’ll be tapped into WiFi. You’ll have dealt with a lot of your email — you arrive in a completely different frame of mind.”
It begins with feasibility studies, construction of upfront infrastructure, three low-draft commuter boats, docks, ramps and access to those docks.
With cooperation from local public transit agencies and some federal money, the ferry could be operational in four years.