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Portland, Vancouver & Army Corps Place Mooring Buoys In Columbia River

An intergovernmental cost-sharing agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the ports of Portland and Vancouver has resulted in the placement of two mooring anchorage buoys this week in the Columbia River near Hayden Island. The anchor buoys enhance navigation safety, particularly in inclement weather, by permitting large, oceangoing vessels to anchor their sterns to one of the buoys. Ships using only bow anchors to keep them in place while temporarily moored in the river sometimes move in ways that create a risk of collision with other ships or inadvertent grounding. The three partners' cooperation makes this the first bi-state, cost-sharing agreement in the nation under the 1986 Water Resource Development Act. Initial funding for the approximately $360,000 project was approved by the two participating ports in December 1993, and 12 by the Corps the following month. Under the cost-sharing provisions of the Act, the two sponsoring ports were required to share 35 percent of the project's cost, or $126,000. The Corps' share was 65 percent, or $234,000. The Corps has estimated that installing the two buoys will save the shipping community about $380,000 a year in costs associated with standby tugs, anchor barges and lay berthing. The project can also be considered a precedent-setting step toward sharing the nonfederal cost of the channel deepening feasibility study among the lower river's ports. The five-year, $6.1 million feasibility study officially kicked off last week at an event attended by more than 200 Oregon and Washington business, government and trade leaders. Senators Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and Slade Gorton (RWash.), together with congressional representatives Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.) and Jolene Unsoeld (D-Wash.) were among those who spoke for the project's benefits to the region.

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