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Emergency Ordinance

*Authorize application to the Federal Transit Administration Passenger Ferry Grant Program in the amount of $3,321,723 for the Friends of Frog Ferry Pilot Project


The City of Portland ordains:

Section 1. The Council finds:

The City of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan and Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan call for the implementation of a passenger ferry system on the Willamette River to improve access to the river, provide a valuable transit connection to those that live along it, and improve resiliency in the event of a natural disaster.

  1. In 2017 Friends of Frog Ferry was created and it formally became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization to advance the vision of water transit in Portland and to support the City’s desire to plan for and implement a passenger river transit program.  Frog Ferry got its name from Chinookan mythology and the story of “Frog” teaching local peoples how to fish by collecting and weaving together nettles collected from the riverbanks to create nets. The logo was created by the chair of the Chinook Nation, Tony Johnson and the tribe’s resident artist Adam McIsaac.
  2. TriMet, the region’s public transit provider, sponsored a $200,000 grant with Friends of Frog Ferry including $40,000 matching funds from the City of Portland for the State of Oregon ODOT Statewide Transit Improvement Fund (STIF) to evaluate the feasibility of river transit in Portland.
  3. Friends of Frog Ferry completed the feasibility report and published its findings in 2020.  The findings found river-based transit would be cost effective and support sufficient ridership to warrant further exploration.  The report detailed ridership demand, capital and operating costs, dock and boat requirements and travel times between stations.
  4. Since completing the feasibility study, Friends of Frog Ferry has worked with the City of Portland and others to develop a three-year pilot project (one year of planning with two years of operations) with stops at docks at Cathedral Park and RiverPlace in the Central City using one boat – funded largely by the proposed grant from the Federal Transit Administration. In May 2021, ODOT awarded $500,000 to Friends of Frog Ferry as the first funding for the three-year, $9.7 million pilot.
  5. Frog Ferry has engaged in extensive outreach to neighborhood associations, activist groups, BIPOC coalitions, elected leaders, business leaders and has generated nine volunteer committees and more than 1,700 supporters and stakeholders. Friends of Frog Ferry estimates that more than $7 million in pro bono professional services have been given to the passenger ferry initiative.
  6. The Federal Transit Administration requires at least a 20 percent match for this grant.
  7. The required 20 percent local match in the amount of $664,345will be provided by Friends of Frog Ferry from private sector contributions and other non-City sources.

NOW, THEREFORE, The Council directs:

  1. The Commissioner-in-Charge is hereby authorized to make application to the Federal Transit Administration for a grant in the amount of $3,321,723.
  2. The Commissioner-in-Charge is authorized to provide such information and assurances as are required for the grant period.
  3. The OMF Grants Office is authorized to perform all administrative matters in relation to the grant application, grant agreement or amendments, requests for reimbursement from the grantor, and to submit required online grant documents on the Commissioner-in-Charge’s behalf.
  4. That the grant funds, if awarded, are to support Friends of Frog Ferry in its effort to establish a regional ferry system, and that City support for said system does not commit the City to owning, maintaining or operating this service in this pilot phase or subsequent phases.

Section 2. The Council declares that an emergency exists because the grant application is due by July 30, 2021; therefore, this ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.

An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)

Passed by Council

Auditor of the City of Portland
Mary Hull Caballero

Impact Statement

Agenda Items

611 Regular Agenda in July 28-29, 2021 Council Agenda


  • Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea

Requested Agenda Type


Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Time Requested
10 Minutes