July 17, 2023 – There is no doubt that there was a lot to take in from this past legislative session at our state capitol. From debates about pressing issues facing Oregon, to negotiating taxes and state budgets, to legislative walkouts and policy standoffs, there was hardly a dull moment in Salem this year. While we didn’t see the passage of SB 1071 that would have restored important boating access to residents and businesses alike to the Newberg Pool, the Oregon boating community galvanized support to bring attention to important issues facing our state's boating community. We had and impressive showing of grassroots bipartisan support from thousands of Oregonians who care about keeping recreational boating alive.
SB 1071’s mission to increase public access to towed water sports in the beloved Newberg Pool wasn’t solely a grassroots effort; it was also a legislative one. We were energized to see 15 legislators across partisan lines sponsor this bill. Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate teamed together to increase boaters’ ability to safely and responsibly water ski, tube, and wakeboard in this treasured part of the Willamette River. We’ve started the important discussion of reversing the devastating effects of SB 1589 and have built significant support to bring this bill back in 2024.
SB 1071’s lead sponsor, Senator Mark Meek (D-District 20), committed to support making the Newberg Pool boaters and small businesses in his district a priority in the 2024 interim session by reintroducing this legislation. We’re grateful for his efforts to make the Newberg Pool accessible to all and for his championship of the Oregon boating community. This effort began as a true movement to protect one of our state’s most enjoyed and cherished pastimes and has grown into a strong grassroots collective that has made the Oregon boating community stronger and more united in our legislative goals.
Looking back at this session, we must also celebrate the success of the inaugural Oregon Boating Advocacy Day. Together, Oregon recreational boating advocates and Oregon-based marine dealers teamed up with the National Marine Manufactures Association (NMMA) to meet with nearly 20 legislators from both parties in both the House and Senate to educate and encourage the support of boating within the state capitol. Moreover, the group successfully demonstrated the impact of this community which supports thousands of jobs and injects billions of dollars in the state economy every year. The boating community was well represented with members from across the state speaking passionately about the positive impact that boating has in their communities. We were encouraged to see such a strong showing of support for Oregon boating from the legislators we met with and look forward to continuing this day of advocacy in future legislative sessions.
Thank you to all those who have been part of our efforts to be seen, heard, and represented at the capitol. We are lucky to have such an active and growing movement in this state that will keep advocating in the legislature to keep recreational boating a reality for future generations of Oregonians to come.
This summer we’re focusing on advocating for infrastructure improvements to Oregon’s docks and encourage the boating community to provide their opinions to the Oregon State Marine Board today via their survey: Here.