WESTPORT – The Wahkiakum County ferry between Westport and Cathlamet, Wash., is still not running this morning.

People seeking to cross the Columbia River between Astoria and Longview, Wash., including Wauna Mill workers, must use the Astoria Bridge or the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview.

The ferry was shut down Wednesday night because of mechanical problems.

The Wahkiakum County Public Works Department, which operates the ferry, will announce when service is restored.

On Wednesday night, during a return trip to?Cathlamet, the captain noticed one of the two Cummins diesel engines making an unsual amount of noise. He described it as sounding like a jet engine to Pete Ringen, public works director for Wahkiakum County.

Ringen and the county’s mechanic inspected the engine when it reached Puget Island. He said the vibration of the engine was not normal and that the mechanic took the filter off to look for metal shavings indicating a mechanical failure, but did not find any.

“It could be something simple, possibly just an injector – or something like that,” Ringen said. But he added that it’s mystifying.

A Cummins Northwest specialist is scheduled to inspect the engine today.

The county has a second engine that can be used to replace the other, but the county wants to see if the engine can be repaired first.

“By the end of today we should know where we’re going to go with that,” said Ringen, about deciding to swap the engine out.

The ferry runs several trips every day between Wesport and Cathlamet. The ferry carried 52,100 passengers last year.


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