Reviving History, Building for the Future
Like many small Oregon communities with declining resource-based employment, picturesque Astoria faces economic pressures. Today, a community-led effort is preparing a historic ferry for a new life in transportation and tourism while creating hands-on learning and work experience for young adults.
A team comprising volunteers, historic preservation students from Clatsop Community College and a work crew from Tongue Point Job Corps Seamanship Program is breathing new life into the ferry, named Tourist No. 2. Individual donors, local businesses, the Oregon Heritage Commission and regional foundations including OCF are providing funding. Built in Astoria in 1924, Tourist No. 2 carried cars and passengers across the lower Columbia and later Puget Sound. It served the Army during World War II, and operated as a Seattle cruise ship before the nonprofit Astoria Ferry Group raised $50,000 to return the ferry to Astoria in 2016.
“It’s a really big project. There’s a certain amount of faith, hope, love and charity involved. The community support has been wonderful.”
ASTORIA FERRY GROUP, BOARD PRESIDENT
Astoria Ferry Group is restoring many of the vessel’s historic features. For the students and Job Corps crew, the work provides education in maritime, preservation and construction trades—all growing fields with family wage jobs.
“The ferry will be part of the fabric of Astoria that gets people on the river in a very affordable way,” said Cindy Price, Astoria Ferry Group board president. “It will be a great economic generator.”