Water sport businesses fear proposed restrictions on Willamette River

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Small water sport industry businesses in Multnomah County are speaking out against proposed boating restrictions on the lower Willamette River. 

The Oregon State Marine Board is considering creating a seasonal pass-through zone for motor boats near Ross Island. To do that, buffer zones would go in around docks and other structures from Waverly Marina to Willamette Falls. 

Things like tubing and wakeboarding would be restricted for part of the year. Wake surfing would be banned year-round. 

Matt Radich, the president of Active Water Sports in Oregon City said roughly 400 small businesses would be affected. He told KOIN 6 News the answer is not to pull boats off the river, but rather change how well current rules are enforced. 

“All those people aren’t going to sell their boats or stop boating. They’re going to have to go somewhere else,” Radich said. “We very much push education and enforcement as the two top things they have to do, because if people don’t understand the laws, they’re not going to follow them.” 

The public comment period for the proposal ended Sunday. The Marine Board is set to meet Wednesday to review those comments and make a final decision. 

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