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June 20th, 2012 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: Home is Where the Harbor is

What’s with the water vessels that seem permanently anchored on the Willamette?

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What is up with Plum Krazy? And on the opposite end of the eyesore spectrum, what about the middle-finger flag flotilla? Can anyone anchor anything semi-navigable freely forever on the Willamette? 

—Stu by the river

Plum what? For all my vast erudition, Stu, the truth is that, outside of a few closely monitored interests, I am frequently oblivious to developments in the physical world around me. Given that Plum Krazy is neither an inexpensive beer nor a new genre of Internet pornography, it’s no surprise I missed it.

Luckily, I know someone who didn’t. Racing swiftly to the Trout-Signal, I summoned…. The Riverkeeper! He’ll know! He actually goes outside sometimes!

Also known as Travis Williams (like Doctor Strange, he doesn’t bother with a secret identity), the Riverkeeper is head of environmental nongovernmental organization Willamette Riverkeeper. And, yes, that’s his job title.

“[Stu] must be referring to some of the vessels that we see being anchored in one place for a while on the river,” said Williams, rising from the waves in a multicolored spume. “We have had some calls [where] vessels have just shown up offshore, clearly with people living on them.”

In short, Stu, that “eyesore” is someone’s cherished home. (You insensitive lout.) Is it legal? Well, the law states that you can’t anchor a boat on the river for more than two weeks without moving it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say how far. Two miles? Two feet?

One suspects the law’s framers, ignorant of the recessions and housing shortages to come, were more worried about abandoned vessels rotting at anchor than folks living indefinitely on a floating Dignity Village.

In any case, for now it seems rollin’ on the river is (kinda-sorta) legal. You should try it—I hear it totally beats working for the man every night and day.

 
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