Despite delay, Zidell Marine launches final barge

The launch of the 277th marks a new beginning for the Zidell Yards

The final Zidell Marine barge, number 277, will be launched June 16 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Zidell Marine launched its final barge on Friday in a move that marks the end of an era for the industry in Portland.

Zidell Marine has been building barges in the South Waterfront since 1961. This was the 277th and final barge for the company, run by Portland’s Zidell family.

The event drew hundreds of both invited guests and spectators, but not all of them got to see the launch.

There was a tremendous ceremony at noon, which included both company owner Jay Zidell and Mayor Ted Wheeler commemorating the launch. However, the massive barge didn’t slip into the Willamette River at noon like planned.

After the crowd waited for about an hour, the crew came out to let them know it was going to take some more time. The final barge left 2 1/2 hours after its scheduled time.

Spectators didn’t seem to mind the late departure.

David Loftus, who lives next door, told KOIN 6 News he thought it was “hilarious.”

“All this fanfare,” Loftus said. “They played the national anthem…and the mayor gave a speech, and a bunch of other people gave speeches…then nothing happened.”

Despite the delay, it was still a momentous occasion as the 27-feet-high, 3,400-ton vessel made its way down the ramp.

The Zidell family plans to redevelop the land in the South Waterfront called the Zidell Yards. The plans for the new mixed use neighborhood were revealed last year.

Renderings of the Zidell Yards development. (Courtesy)