Lower water levels concern Dragon Boat racers

Dragon Boat races this Saturday and Sunday

Dragon Boat racers practice on the Willamette River, Sept. 10, 2015 (KOIN)
Dragon Boat racers practice on the Willamette River, Sept. 10, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 13th annual Portland Dragon Boat races will be slightly different this weekend – and you can blame it on the weather.

Water levels in the Willamette River are lower this year than in years past, and organizers will move the racers from the west side of the river to the center.

Chief race official Kristin Sterling told KOIN 6 News the lower levels were a big concern for fairness.

“It’s challenging enough running a race in a moving body water, but with low water the boat speeds are varied from the edge of the river to the middle of the river,” she said. “We’re going to put the boats out where the current is and make sure they’re all dealing with the same conditions.”

That area has been designated as a safety zone for the event, so it will be blocked off by the Coast Guard to avoid river traffic and accidents.

The Dragon Boat races will take place both Saturday and Sunday.

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