The fate of increasing public access to towed watersports in the Newberg Poll lies in the hands of the Senate Rules committee. Send a letter today urging the committee to schedule Senate Bill 1071 for the public hearing it deserves: "Enter Your Info" and click "Take Action Now". Your name will be added to the list of supporters, and a message will be sent to the five members of the Senate Rules Committee - Chair Leiber, Vice Chair Knopp, Senator Hansel, Senator Manning and Senator Steiner.
We encourage you to customize the below letter, telling your personal story about why you support increasing public access to towed watersports in the Newberg Pool. Your address will only be used to verify your legislative district.
Chair Lieber, Vice Chair Knopp, Senator Hansel, Senator Manning and Senator Steiner,
For decades hundreds of local families safely have enjoyed towed water sports such as tubing and waterskiing the Newberg Pool. Upon passing SB 1589 last year, the local boating community and businesses that depend on their support were devastated by unintended consequences of the legislation. The law banned most families certified to participate in towed watersports from using the Newberg Pool because of the law's significantly low weight limit with ballast. The decrease of this activity has resulted in millions lost in economic impact and has created significant challenges for local businesses and their ability to provide livable wage jobs.
SB 1071 is a step in the right direction toward supporting reasonable public access to the Newberg Pool and local businesses in the area. Redefining the weight to the zone's allowable recreational boating uses is pragmatic, sensible and backed by science. Reasonably increasing the weight limit gives the community a greater ability to find qualifying recreational boats - just 7% of the 70+ models available from popular manufacturers fall under the limit as defined by SB 1589. Realigning the zone mile markers to the law’s intended purpose of alleviating congestion around narrow stretches and homes and docks corrects a serious overreach.
Recreational boating provides significant social and economic benefits to our community. These cherished Pacific Northwest activities support $1.6 billion in annual economic impact for the state, including backing nearly 6,000 jobs and over 400 local businesses, including marinas, sporting goods stores, mechanics, dealers and more. Oregonians spend more than 6.8 million activity days per year on the water and participating in watersports and cruising making SB 1071 important to ensuring Oregonians have access to the great outdoors.
I urge you to support Oregon families and small businesses by scheduling a public hearing for Newberg Pool reform this session. Senate Bill 1071 is bipartisan and has significant backing in both the Senate and House with its commonsense improvements which ensure the Newberg Pool can be safely shared for generations to come.
NEWBERG POOL IMPACT
Ballast is not allowed in the Newberg Pool, yet the current law counts the unusable, ballast weight against the limit. Aligning to the allowable recreational boating use in the zone is just common sense. For example, a Scout 281 XSS weighs 5,457 pounds and a Mastercraft NXT-20 weighs 3,965 pounds. The Scout is legal to tow a tuber in the Newberg Pool even thought it is heavier in this context, yet the Mastercraft is not because its unusable factory installed ballast system put it over the 5,500 pound combined weight limit.
Simply put a 5,500-pound weight limit is too restrictive, just 7% of the 70+ recreational boat models available from popular manufacturers fall under it. Not to mention there is no peer-reviewed scientific information that illustrates any positive benefits of a 5,500-pound weight limit. A 7,500-pound weight limit gives the community the greater ability to purchase qualifying recreational boats.
The primary purpose of the Newberg Pool Congested Zone was to balance the positive benefits of boating fun and prevent negative impacts in populated areas, especially where homes and docks were present. The expansion of the zone to river mile 27 was a significant overreach as that section is largely uninhabited with virtually no homes or docks and is plenty wide enough for wake dissipation.
RECREATIONAL BOATING IMPACT
No. Wakesurfing will remain off limits in the Newberg Pool.
Ballast bags are compartments within a boat that holds water in an effort to stabilize the boat. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to fit different boats. The additional weight in the boat from the ballast creates a bigger wake for wakesurfers. Most recreational boats now come with a factory ballast system that will allow you to pump and fill with water to use as weight and drain when it is no longer needed.
The Newberg Pool was already one of the most regulated bodies of water in Oregon. Wake surfers are subject to a weight limit, required to obtain a special safety certification and only allowed in two small zones with no adjacent homes or docks.