Rowing club members clear Willamette River of debris after heavy rains

Members of the Rose City Rowing Club work to clear debris along the Willamette River in downtown Portland Tuesday, April 9, 2019 left over from heavy rains. (Photo: Corry Young/KATU News)

The threat of flooding is over, but other dangers on the water loom ahead.

Bi-products of heavy rainstorms, like heavy logs and debris, are plugging up rivers and could cause boaters and kayakers unique challenges.

Members of the Rose City Rowing Club couldn't get on the water Tuesday due to heavy water flows; instead, they took up another challenge: clearing debris from the Eastbank Esplanade.

Some of the biggest hazards are the large logs that have made their way down the river. All the logs and debris can be dangerous to docks and boats that have to float on top.

"It's like a forest up here; it's crazy; a lot of logs," said Andrew Setter, a coach for the Rose City Rowing Club. "The trees are old, they're big, they're heavy, full of water, so a lot of strenuous work."

Setter and several of his teammates spent part of their afternoon pushing, pulling, and thrusting to move piles of logs.

"We got someone [on boat] trying to pull the logs away while we push from the other side -- so team effort," said Setter.

It's not the job they signed up for as rowers, but they want to make sure the water is safe for everyone to enjoy. So, these warriors of the Willamette River are taking one for the team.

"We are definitely worried about the safety of our river, the upkeep of our river, for ourselves and for everyone else," said Setter.

Law enforcement does warn against clearing logs by yourself; it's extremely dangerous, as the flow of water is heavy and you could fall in.

Willamette Riverkeeper told KATU News it is aware of the logs and are cleaning up areas along the river this week.

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