Co-Presidents of the Astoria Ferry Group Cindy Price and Dulcye Taylor went to Portland on a semi-secret mission this past Friday, to attend the awards dinner where the Tourist No 2 was officially added to Restore Oregon's 2018 list of Most Endangered Places. It is an extraordinary honor and will [in the words of RO] highlight the ferry's value as a cultural and economic asset, and then help bring together rehabilitation expertise, resources, and local support to revitalize the Tourist No 2 so she can again contribute to the community and be passed forward to future generations. She received a lot of big whoops from the nearly 300 dinner guests, second only to the beloved Jantzen Beach Carousel. More from the Restore Oregon website.
Astoria ferry makes Oregon’s most endangered listThe nonprofit Astoria Ferry Group is restoring the Tourist No. 2
By Edward StrattonThe Daily Astorian
Published on November 13, 2017 7:59AM
Restore Oregon has named the ferry Tourist No. 2 one of its 12 most endangered places in 2018.
The nonprofit Astoria Ferry Group is restoring the 93-year-old vessel to be used for river excursions and other events.
Restore Oregon’s endangered list names properties in imminent danger of being lost. Inclusion on the list makes the project eligible for technical assistance and educational resources to develop strategies for long-term viability and preservation.
Built in 1924, the ferry worked the Columbia River under Capt. Fritz Elfving. The Navy commandeered the vessel in 1941 to lay mines at the mouth of the Columbia after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, the Army used the ferry between Fort Stevens and Fort Canby, Washington. In 1946, Elfving bought the ferry back and used it until 1966, when the Astoria Bridge opened.
The ferry was sold and used in the Puget Sound region by Pierce County, Washington, until 1996. It was later used for summer cruises and purchased in 2010 by Christian Lint for dockside events in Bremerton, Washington. Local hotelier Robert Jacobs learned of the ferry’s existence and started negotiating with Lint for its return to Astoria.
The Astoria Ferry Group raised more than $50,000 to have Lint bring the vessel in August 2016 from Bremerton, Washington, to North Tongue Point. A year after the ferry’s arrival, the group issued an ultimatum for $100,000 and a fresh influx of volunteers, warning that the restoration effort had plateaued and could stop.
But new volunteers, including Lint and seamanship students from federal training site Tongue Point Job Corps Center, have taken over restoring the vessel at North Tongue Point.
“While it provides protection from the weather, it is a primitive facility, with dilapidated pilings, and provides power sufficient only to keep the generator battery charged,” Restore Oregon said in its explanation of threats to the vessel.
The ferry faces issues with deterioration, water damage, utilities and antiquated equipment. The Astoria Ferry Group hopes to move the vessel to the waterfront commercial complex at Pier 39 for more public exposure while volunteers continue to prepare it for the Coast Guard certification needed to carry groups on the water.
Video taken as Tourist No 2 returned to North Tongue Point moorage this afternoon, after a service run along the Astoria waterfront.
Presenting 4/5ths of the fine team of Seamanship students who worked on the ferry this week. Great work!
Exterior priming and painting in the historic white-and-black colors is almost finished. The prep work helped to reveal areas in need of repair that may have been previously missed or understated. The paint makes her more attractive for visitors when she is moved to Pier 39, and more importantly adds a layer of protection over the coming weather months until repairs can be made.
Can you see the difference? The Ferry has been power washed and prepped, and painting has begun. Original colors -- gloss white and black -- now on wheelhouse deck. Crisp! Lots of progress tomorrow, last day for outside painting before weather sets in.
Many thanks to all who continue to support the return of the Tourist 2 to the Astoria waterfront. And to Jake Jacob, Captains Christian Lint and Jim Peacock, and the Tongue Point Seamanship program for their hard work and amazing progress. “I love this vessel,” [Job Corps seamanship student Joseph]White said of the ferry. “I love this community project. To bring back almost 100 years of history is really bringing a big thing in my heart.” [Read the Daily Astorian article below for more details.]
In addition to repairing leaks and buttoning up for the rainy season, Christian Lint is leading the charge to remove the false floor on the main deck and reveal the original wood planking. Probably 300-year-old wood on this 93-year-old boat. It's going to be beautiful!
Astoria Ferry Group project back off the rocks
Historic vessel could dock at Pier 39 for public tours
By Edward Stratton
The Daily Astorian
Published on October 25, 2017 10:45AM
Last changed on October 25, 2017 10:51AM
The dream of bringing back the historic Tourist No. 2, recently on the rocks and in search of money and a fresh infusion of volunteers, is afloat once again.
An expanded cadre of volunteers, gathered in part by Cannery Pier Hotel developer Robert Jacob and ferry owner and Capt. Christian Lint, is gussying up the 93-year-old Columbia River ferry for a move to Pier 39.
The Astoria Ferry Group was formed as a nonprofit to restore and eventually acquire the ferry from Lint, who, with co-Capt. Jim Peacock, brought the vessel to Astoria in August 2016 from Bremerton, Washington.
The ultimate goal, after gaining certification from the Coast Guard, is to make the ferry a floating platform for events and a unique tourist attraction, a waterborne counterpart to the Astoria Riverfront Trolley.
In August, board members Cindy Price and Dulcye Taylor sounded the alarm in an article in The Daily Astorian, saying the group’s efforts had plateaued and needed $100,000 and some new board members by the end of September, or the effort to bring the ferry back would fold its sails.
“That article was kind of our SOS,” Taylor said, adding the group has since backed off from the ultimatum. “Jake kind of answered the call.”
One bite at a time
Jacob, 68, has helped bring back historic attractions like the trolley, Liberty Theatre and Astoria Armory. Over a 12-year period, he developed a former cannery on a pier in the Columbia below the Astoria Bridge into the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa.
All the projects faced hurdles he chipped away at, some with big price tags, Jacob said.
“I was taught not to stare at that elephant in that kitchen, ’cause you can’t eat it,” Jacob said in an analogy to the ferry. “But if somebody takes it out to the table and hands you a chunk of ear, you can eat a chunk of ear.”
For labor, Jacob enlisted the help of Tongue Point Job Corps Center’s seamanship program. The students have been tearing out carpet and plywood flooring to expose the original deck, before putting on a fresh coat of paint. Joseph White, a seamanship student for the past 19 months at Tongue Point, said trainees are used to maintaining the center’s steel-hulled training vessel Ironwood, but are learning some valuable skills for working on older, wooden-hulled boats.
Job Corps students have also been helping fix the Salvage Chief, a regionally famed former marine towing vessel under restoration by another nonprofit.
“I love this vessel,” White said of the ferry. “I love this community project. To bring back almost 100 years of history is really bringing a big thing in my heart.”
Lucien Swerdloff, an instructor with Clatsop Community College’s historian preservation program and a ferry board member, said his students will also use the ferry as a floating classroom for workshops.
Overseeing the Job Corps students is Lint, who has been traveling from the Olympic Peninsula weekly with other boat restoration partners. The cosmetic restoration of the ferry pales in comparison to the structural issues he faced in the recent restoration of a 137-foot, 1893 sailing yacht, he said.
“Everything is good about the boat except for the cosmetics,” Lint said.
The Astoria Ferry Group previously estimated $500,000 was needed for Coast Guard certification, a necessary step before taking out large groups on the vessel. Lint has disputed the figure, saying the boat is close to the condition needed for certification, and that much of the work can be done at Tongue Point for a lesser cost than at other commercial shipyards.
After the face-lift, the ferry heads back down the Columbia to Floyd Holcom’s waterfront commercial complex at Pier 39, where the ferry group hopes to hold tours and build public interest while continuing to upgrade the vessel’s safety, electrical and other systems in preparation for certification by the Coast Guard.
“By putting it at Pier 39, it will be more in the sight of people,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile, a new influx of volunteers has expressed interest in joining the ferry group, Taylor said. She, Price and other volunteers have been continually working on grants for the boat. Taylor and Price claimed the operation of the boat would cost upward of $500,000 annually but could be covered by operational revenue with tours, weddings, conferences and other events on board.
Donna Quinn, Cannery Pier’s director of marketing and sales, said the group is in the beginning stages of developing a marketing plan. A board member on the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, she has reached out to the state’s tourism agency Travel Oregon and said the group has shown interest in supporting the development of the ferry as a sustainable tourist attraction.
“One of the challenges that local people and even visitors in this area have is the ability to get on the Columbia River,” Quinn said. “And that really defines us. We’re a river town.”
The Tourist No 2 is back in the news with Andy Carson from KPTV Channel 12 doing live broadcasts from the Ferry for their weekday award-winning morning newscast "Good Day Oregon," on Friday, October 13th. Our friend Jeff Daly of Obtainium Studios edited the footage down to a cool 4-minute video.