Tiny Hayden Island Beach May Be Restricted at Night

Fires, violence and garbage plague an inviting strip of sand with views of downtown Vancouver.

The Oregon Department of State Lands says it is considering whether to close a section of the Columbia riverbank on Hayden Island at night because of “uncontrolled fires, threats of violence, abandoned shopping carts and vehicles, and trash.”

The section is on the north side of Hayden Island, just west of the Interstate Bridge. A map of the area shows a tiny beach that protrudes into the river.

The State Lands Department is seeking public comment on the closure, which would prohibit all activities between 10 pm and 5 am. Campfires and camping would be prohibited at all times.

The riverbank is surrounded by private property and can be reached legally by boat only. The land around it is owned by Thunderbird Hotel LLC. It was the site of the Thunderbird Hotel, which was built in 1971, abandoned in 2005, and went up in a five-alarm fire in 2012.

At the time of the fire, Thunderbird Hotel LLC owed Multnomah County more than $1 million in taxes, according to an Oregonian report at the time.

Hayden Island, a finger of land about 4 miles long, is something of a tax haven. Residents of Washington come there to shop because Oregon has no sales tax. They also come to play the Oregon Lottery, which is the second-largest source of state funding, after income taxes. Washington has no video lottery games.

As WW reported last week, Dotty’s #24, just south of the beach that may be closed, was the third-highest grossing lottery outlet in Oregon.