PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Rose Festival Fleet — US Navy, US Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships — will arrive at the downtown Portland waterfront on Wednesday and Thursday.
The first ships, which will be anchored in the Willamette River, will arrive Wednesday afternoon and the last of the vessels will depart on Monday morning.
The arrival of the 9 vessels will force multiple bridges downtown to lift several times, so it will impact traffic. People should expect delays.
The Burnside and Steel Bridges will be the first to go up as the US Coast Guard and 2 Canadian ships arrive Wednesday afternoon at about 3 p.m. It’ll be the same schedule Thursday afternoon as 2 bigger US Navy vessels arrive to fill out the westside seawall.
This year, river conditions are good. Harbor Master Ray Pratt said the river level is high, making it easier for the ships to avoid obstacles on the bottom.
However, bridge lifts are unavoidable.
The bridge lifts will mainly affect the Steel and Burnside Bridges on Wednesday. Those same bridges and the Broadway Bridge will be affected on Thursday as the bigger Navy ships arrive.
It’s best to plan ahead if you normally rely on bridges for your commute.
“If you’re in a hurry, think about taking a different route over a fixed bridge that’s not going to be going up and down,” Pratt said. “Go over the Hawthorne Bridge, we’re not going to be taking ships up that high. Just plan before you leave.”
TriMet urges riders to plan an extra 30 to 60 minutes for bus and MAX trips during afternoon bridge lifts.
Some of the ships will be open for free tours, giving 600 sailors the chance to share their experiences with the people who come to see these vessels.
Lt. Cmrd. Julie Holland, Deputy Public Affairs Officer 3rd Fleet, said, “They get to see what a day in the life of a sailor is. And they also get to see some of the characteristics of the ship has to offer, some of the weapons systems on board, damage control, all the aspects that go into managing a ship.”
The United States Navy is back again this year as well as 2 Navy Ships USS Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser and a newly commissioned USS Jackson.
The arriving ships will spend the weekend in Portland and head home early next week.