Portland Spirit to fight Coast Guard findings

The two day hearing will be held at U.S. Bankruptcy Courtroom in downtown Portland

Red Bull had its Flugtag permit revoked early because of a crowded waterway, August 1, 2015 (KOIN)
Red Bull had its Flugtag permit revoked early because of a crowded waterway, August 1, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An Administrative Law Judge will open a two-day hearing on Wednesday to determine whether or not the master of the Portland Spirit, a commercial vessel that operates along the Willamette River, will face sanctions for failing to avoid a collision during an event in August 2015.

On Aug. 1, 2015, around 3 p.m., the United States Coast Guard revoked the permit for Red Bull’s Flutag event that was being held along the waterfront and Willamette River. The Coast Guard was notified by the Portland Spirit and its master, Lowell Gillespie, that commercial vessels were being blocked by personal boat traffic attending the Red Bull event.

A twitter picture shows the Portland Spirit among smaller boats watching the Red Bull Flugtag, August 1, 2015 (@mbrawley1)
A twitter picture shows the Portland Spirit among smaller boats watching the Red Bull Flugtag, August 1, 2015 (@mbrawley1)

There were an estimated 500 boats anchored together. In its permit for the event, organizers with Red Bull reported they expected only 100 boats. The Coast Guard said Red Bull had the responsibility to keep the waterways open, which it failed to do.

The Coast Guard, however, also determined that the Portland Spirit failed to act to avoid a collision.

Gillespie is fighting the Coast Guard’s findings.

The two day hearing will be held at U.S. Bankruptcy Courtroom in downtown Portland.

The Coast Guard never received a response from Red Bull on the letter of warning. The letter has not been released to the public. The Coast Guard cited the on-going investigation. If the administrative law judge rules in favor of the captain the letter will be expunged.