The Ear received a rather sad letter from the Astoria Ferry (aka Tourist No. 2) the other day, addressed to the city of Astoria. Did you know that the beloved ferry has fallen on hard times recently?
Which is a shame for a vessel that was built in Astoria in 1924 for ferry system entrepreneur and pioneer Capt. Fritz Elfving. She was even on the National Register of Historic Places in her long career (bit.ly/NPS_T2).
The ferry last served as the MV Kirkland for Argosy Cruises before being sold to Christian Lint for $10,000 after a small fire. He refurbished the ferry, and brought her back to home to Astoria at Jake Jacob's request. Soon after, the nonprofit Astoria Ferry Group was formed to buy the ferry from Lint. The ferry is pictured, courtesy of Astorian reporter Edward Stratton.
To be used as a passenger-carrying vessel again, though, the ferry needs to meet costly U.S. Coast Guard requirements; she would have to be dry-docked to replace old boards in her wooden hull. And, the procedure would need to be repeated every few years to continue passing inspections.
Jake, the lifeblood of the Astoria Ferry effort, died in 2019. The Astoria Ferry Group tried, but could not overcome the ferry's challenges; they disbanded and gave the ferry back to Lint.
"Christian has been tirelessly trying to keep me alive," the ferry wrote. She is now tied to pilings on Astoria's waterfront. "I see many locals and tourists every day, enjoying and photographing me from the Riverwalk. I am happy to bring so much pleasure to so many."
The problem with the location is lack of shore power and water. There are solar panels, but there won't be enough sun in winter to keep the batteries charged to pump the bilges. Plus, winter's storms and high waves will certainly cause problems.
"I need your help, Astoria," the ferry implored. "I need a permanent home." Can you help save the old girl? If so, please contact Capt. Lint at 619-386-8346 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"I love you, Astoria, and I know you love me, too. Please help save me. Love, The Astoria Ferry."