I climbed aboard the Oscar B as the first light was breaking in Astoria. The tide was coming in, and this ferry was due upriver. Two seasoned mariners — who knew from the look of me I was an inlander by birth — were headed out on the Columbia River, as they’d done thousands of times before.
One was obviously better at talking to the river than talking to others, and the other was less than revealing about the namesake of the boat, his father.
So the sound of the engines and the bark of sea lions provided the soundtrack to much of Friday’s trip delivering the new Puget Island-Westport ferry, one of few Washington/Oregon routes remaining on the river — and the last of the Lower Columbia ferries.
It was a routine trip for the pair of retired river pilots, but for me it was an opportunity, a way to craft poetry out of the historical record that may well be referred to in 50 years when yet another ferry takes its place.
And then there was the curious case of one man trying to reason his way out of a camera-trap speeding ticket — with science!
Back again to the water, a stink is being raised about the stink that could be caused by protections for smelt limiting the city’s ability to flush a man-made lake in the heart of Longview. (Yes, it would smell worse than the paper mills when it rains.)
Finally, one medical marijuana patient stands up to what he calls a “hostile takeover” by the recreational pot industry and the state Legislature.