The Labor Day Weekend brought evidence that Captain Jack Stiles may have discovered the best way to party on the Willamette. For more than 20 years, Stiles, whose nickname is “Mad Jack” and is a semi-retired harbor master at the Waverly Marina, has been anchoring a temporary dock, complete with Port-A-Potty and barbecue, in the middle of the Willamette River. "Most of my life has been spent helping people on the river," Stiles says, and, at his 14 x 40 foot dock, sailboats park and party. Stiles has also used the dock for a pirate-themed wedding and for the shooting of "Maverick
" with Mel Gibson. His dock was anchored near Ross Island earlier in August but Stiles moved it to just south of the Sellwood Bridge
not long before Labor Day.
According to Tami Hubert, Land Manager at the Department of State Lands
, what Stiles is doing is completely legal. “A transient-type use can spend 14 consecutive days in one location, but after that time, is subject to waterway rules,” she says. The word “location” under OAR 141-082 has a very broad definition, and theoretically, one could dock indefinitely by just moving the dock slightly every 14 days. Makes one wonder why more people don't take advantage of this rule.
“There are three rules," Stiles says. "The river belongs to everybody. Live and let live. And if you can't follow the first two, then you shouldn't be out on the river.” Stiles' dock is currently moored at the Waverly Marina, but he plans to take it north to Cathedral Park for the 2009 Pirate Festival
, where people can come aboard to enjoy life and a floating Port-A-Potty.