Deerhorn bridge project could close boat ramp on McKenzie River

One tour guide says this ramp is safer than the alternative ones the city is suggesting people use.

Posted: May 8, 2019 5:35 PM

DEERHORN, Ore. -- Construction on the Bridge Street Bridge in Deerhorn is set to close not only the bridge but also the boat ramp below it.

Lane County transportation officials said they are going to meet at the site in a few weeks to consider options to keep the ramp open, but they also said they are concerned about the proximity of the boat ramp to the bridge and the congestion that would be caused by parking in the area.

The wooden base under the bridge, which was originally built in the 1930s, is starting to deteriorate and officials are worried for the safety of those who travel over it if preventative construction doesn't happen.

Martin Thurber has been working as a tour guide on the McKenzie River for 30 years. He said this ramp is safer than the alternative ones the city is suggesting people use.

"There are some pretty bad rapids about a mile and a half downriver and about a mile and a half upriver, so there are concerns that people can get into trouble, but this is a very safe body of water," Thurber said.

The planned detour for vehicle traffic is Deerhorn Road.

Alternate boat ramp access is located upstream at Leaburg Landing and downstream at Taylor boat ramp.

"I would just love to work with the bridge engineers and Lane County Transportation on an idea where we can all come together and work out a solution that'll work for everybody," Thurber added. 

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