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N. Oregon Coast's Lightship Columbia Opens Up Again to Astoria Visitors

Published 07/16/22 at 6:05 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Lightship Columbia Opens Up Again to Astoria Visitors

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(Astoria, Oregon) – In recent weeks, an old friend and historical stalwart returned to its hallowed spot on the north Oregon coast. The Lightship Columbia returned after several months of major restoration work back in Portland, and now it's ready for its adoring public. (Photo courtesy Columbia River Maritime Museum)

Firmly back in its old spot outside the Columbia River Maritime Museum (CRMM), the Lightship Columbia has now opened its top deck to visitors, the CRMM recently announced.

“After months of restoration at Diversified Marine in Portland, WCT Marine Tongue Point (Astoria), and here at the Museum, the top deck of the Lightship is once again open daily 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Please note this schedule is dependent on the Museum's dedicated group of volunteers and is subject to change.”

Access to the deck is free with admission to the museum. Members are always free.

Meanwhile, CRMM said the below deck area of the Lightship is not yet open to visitors.

Courtesy CRMM: the ship during restoration

You'll have to check the museum's admission deck before getting onboard.

The Large Navigation Buoy SOO is also back in its spot.

This old Oregon coast wonder went under the knife back in October of 2021, rather suddenly whisked away. Curiously, the ship was pushed by another vessel – not towed. In the early morning hours of October 20, the Lightship Columbia Drydock Project got underway with the towboat Toni B. pushing her from behind up the Columbia to the Portland marine yards.

Lightship Columbia started its life of life-saving back in 1952. Then for 28 years it rode out bone-crunching storms along what is called the Graveyard of the Pacific, assisting countless ships through the tidal melee and saving lives.

When it was retired in 1980 it was brought to the CRMM, where it's been ever since. Yet only the top deck has been open all these years: the recent work allows some new areas down below to be opened up, never seen by the public before.

Time and tides took their toll on the much revered Oregon coast vessel, however, and finally a major grant came through last year, and this $1.5-million project was born. The Columbia was the ship was inspected, cleaned, sandblasted and received a new paint job and several repairs. The hull, superstructure, the decks, masts, fittings and rigging all went under the knife. 1792 Marine Dr, Astoria, Oregon. (503) 325-2323. Columbia River Maritime Museum.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees nearly 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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