ACT NOW

SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT TODAY

We have great news – our mission to increase public access to towed watersports in the Newberg Pool is one step closer to reality. The Oregon Legislature is now accepting public comment on our bill. The opposition is already weighing in and we need EVERY boater in Oregon to take two minutes today to show legislators that the majority of the community supports reform. Please submit your written comment here by Wednesday, February 14 at 11:59pm.


By adding your voice to this cause, elected officials can hear from real people in their communities on the issues that matter to them. Below are some talking points and instructions to assist you with the process. Even if you already signed the petition we need you to submit written comment too.


How to Submit Testimony:

Visit the Testimony Submission form for SB 1590 here

• Fill in the name, residence and email address fields

•  Choose "support" for your position on this bill

•  Write in your text testimony 

•  Tell the Oregon Legislature why you support this bill. Even a few sentences is fine. Include a personalized note on how this bill will impact your family or business.


Sample talking points to consider for your testimony:


 • SB 1590 will increase public access to towed water sports for hundreds of families along the Newberg Pool. This includes restoring carefully planned zones by the OSMB, shaped with input from diverse river stakeholders including small businesses, environmentalists and homeowners. These zones ensure safety for river users and the environment by limiting towed water sports to suitable areas.


• SB 1590 carries forward the Oregon State Marine Board’s Newberg Pool Towed Watersports Education Program so boaters remain informed about the latest boater safety measures, effective wave management techniques and operator responsibilities.


• Implementing a standardized factory weight limit not only prevents larger boats from towing riders but also streamlines enforcement. The present weight limit (combined factory dry weight and ballast) has no national standard which has posed significant challenges for consumers to determine if their boat is eligible and for the marine board to accurately enforce.


• Waves created by boats from a safe distance (i.e. 200 feet+ from shore) do not significantly impact shorelines according to peer-reviewed scientific studies.


• Residential development is the leading source of human-caused erosion in the Newberg Pool according to ecological restoration engineer David Gorman. Moreover, natural occurrences such as winter storms have a much greater impact on erosion than boating.


• There is no empirical evidence or peer-reviewed study that links the current restrictions to having any positive effect on fish populations. Wake sports largely take place in the summer, outside of key migratory or spawning months. Studies show that wake boats waves, when operated at least 200 feet from shore, do not carry enough energy to have a significant impact on most shorelines.

Ask Your Legislators to Support Increased Newberg Pool Public Access


We need every boating enthusiast in Oregon to take one minute today to send a letter urging their legislators to support Newberg Pool boaters and small businesses: 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 Senator and Representative for your district. Your address will only be used to verify your legislative district.

The Petition:


For decades, families have safely enjoyed towed watersports like tubing, waterskiing and wakeboarding in the Newberg Pool - an area of deep water on the Willamette River from the mouth of the Yamhill River to Willamette Falls. In 2022, the legislature narrowly passed SB 1589, which devastated the local boating community. The bill banned the majority of families registered to participate in towed watersports in the Newberg Pool by setting an arbitrarily low weight limit. While the bill was well-intentioned, it kicked hundreds of families off the river and local small businesses have suffered millions in economic losses due to recreation decline.

 

SB 1590 is well-considered reform that puts forth the most effective Newberg Pool regulations tested over the last five years. Carrying forward the Oregon State Marine Board’s (OSMB) Newberg Pool Towed Watersports Education Program ensures boat drivers in this region continue to be some of the most knowledgeable in the state and support safe towed watersports. Restoring carefully planned zones by the OSMB, shaped with input from diverse river stakeholders, ensures safety for river users and the environment by limiting towed watersports to suitable areas. Implementing a standard weight limit prevents larger boats from towing riders and streamlines enforcement.

 

Recreational boating provides significant social and economic benefits, supporting $2.3 billion in economic impact, over 8,000 jobs and over 400 local businesses. The sport helps contribute $25 million annually from the federal government to important Oregon conservation and waterway projects. Oregonians spend more than 6.8 million activity days per year participating in towed watersports and cruising, making SB 1590 important to ensure Oregonians have access to the great outdoors.


I urge you to support Oregon families and small businesses by passing SB1590. The bill’s common-sense improvements will ensure the Newberg Pool can be safely shared for generations to come.





NEWBERG POOL IMPACT

For decades, local families have safely enjoyed towed watersports like tubing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding in the Willamette River’s Newberg Pool - an area of deep water on the Willamette River from the mouth of the Yamhill River to Willamette Falls. In 2022, the legislature narrowly passed SB 1589, which devastated the local boating community and small businesses that depend on recreational boating.

Recreation Stunted

Upon passage, the majority of families certified to participate in towed watersports were banned from using the Newberg Pool because of the law's egregiously low 5,500-pound weight limit. Without the ability to even take their kids tubing, it is estimated that hundreds of families stopped or significantly reduced recreating in the Newberg Pool.

Economic Decline

The absence has been felt up and down the river. Foot traffic is significantly down at popular stores and accessories shops serving boaters, leading to sales declines as high as 50%. With such steep restrictions to their favorite activities’ some families have abandoned boat ownership all together. Sadly, others have even moved out of the area due to the law.

Small Business Impact

SB 1589 created significant challenges for local businesses and their ability to provide livable wage jobs. The opportunity to purchase a qualified new boat is virtually impossible - just 7% of all models from popular manufacturers are under the new weight limit. This led millions of dollars in negative economic impact due to boat order cancelations and future sales losses.

THE SOLUTION

SB 1590 is well-considered reform that puts forth the most effective Newberg Pool regulations tested over the last five years. Core components of the legislation include:
Carefully Planned Zones

Improving public access includes restoring carefully planned zones by the Oregon State Marine Board, shaped with input from diverse river stakeholders. These zones ensure safety for river users and the environment by limiting towed water sports to suitable areas. An extensive list of state-wide boating laws remains in place as well.

Standardized Weight Limit

Implementing a standardized factory weight limit not only prevents larger boats from towing riders but also streamlines enforcement. The present weight limit (combined factory dry weight and ballast) has no national standard which has posed significant challenges for consumers to determine if their boat is eligible and for the marine board to accurately enforce.

Continued Education

Thanks to the OSMB’s Newberg Pool Towed Watersports Education Program, boat drivers in this region are some of the most knowledgeable in the state and support safe towed watersports. SB 1590 carries forward this valuable program so boaters remain informed about the latest boater safety measures, effective wave management techniques and operator responsibilities.


BILL BENEFITS

SB 1590 brings significant benefits to the Newberg Pool boating community and the small businesses that depend on their support.

Increase public access in the Newberg Pool

Protect the environment with dedicated zones

Support local small businesses that depend on recreation

Protect vital jobs and economic impact

Support healthy family outdoor activities

Simplifies agency enforcement 

RECREATIONAL BOATING IMPACT

Recreational boating brings significant social and economic value to our state.

OREGON RECREATIONAL BOATING IMPACT

$2.3 B

ECONOMIC IMPACT

8,838

JOBS SUPPORTED

416

BUSINESSES SUPPORTED

$25 M

CONSERVATION + INFRASTRUCTURE

#8

OUTDOOR REC ACTIVITY