The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District officially welcomed its newest hydrographic survey vessel, the Beeman, with a dedication and christening ceremony in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11.
The Beeman, whose name honors the legacy of Ogden Beeman, chief of the Portland District’s Waterways Navigation Branch from 1960-1967, replaces and continues the work of the district’s aging vessel, the Patterson, which surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years.
“This is a vessel with a critical mission, as dredging and structural operations and maintenance can’t take place without the data it will collect,” said Karla Ellis, the Portland District’s chief of Waterways Maintenance. “It’s always nice to get a new piece of equipment like this, but it’s equally meaningful to know that it also represents a legacy for family and friends, and we’re always honored to be a part of that.”
The Portland District maintains the vital navigation channels of the Pacific Northwest by performing maintenance dredging, which ensures channels remain deep enough to accommodate the drafts of shipping vessels. The district’s survey vessels collect hydrographic data from river and harbor bottoms to determine where that dredging is needed.
The six survey vessels owned and operated by the district inform the dredging of 244 navigable river miles and 22 ports from Nehalem to Chetco, keeping the region’s waterways safe and reliable for the commercial transport of billions of dollars of goods annually, as well as for recreational uses.
The survey vessel Beeman improves on the technology of its predecessor, the Patterson. It was also specially designed with a shallow draft ideal for safe operation in constrained areas and coastal conditions, allowing the district the best possible opportunity to obtain real-time data in dynamic environments.
Background: Navigation is one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ earliest civil works missions, dating back to 1824, and the original basis for establishing the Corps’ Portland District. The U.S. Congress, recognizing the importance of the Columbia and Willamette rivers to the economy of the Northwest, established the Portland District in 1871. One of the original goals of the district was to remove obstacles to navigation in the two rivers. Today, the region’s commercial development is still dependent on safe passage of seagoing ships across the bars and up the waterways. The Portland District keeps Oregon’s waterways safe and navigable through sandbar dredging and channel deepening, ensuring safe transport for billions of dollars in waterborne commerce annually. The district also built and maintains 12 jetties along Oregon’s coast, which aid ships traveling between the river and the ocean. To learn more about the Portland District’s navigation mission, visit https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/