Thursday, September 30, 2010

Urban Creeking 4.0: Lake Oswego Creek

all photos: Matt King

About 5 years ago I was attending a funeral with my family in Portland. I was still an Ik'er but the bridge we drove over was ultra intriguing even then. I guess it was a precurser of things to come, but just HAD to find out what was in that creek. I didn't have the map skills at the time to figure out what creek it was, so I just took a mental image and stayed up imagining what was flowing along under that bridge.
Then earlier this summer I am driving through Portland for some reason and drive over... the same bridge!  I must have stored that piece of long term memory in the correct spot in my brain.  I was excited to fulfill my desires to know what was flowing below this bridge in the middle of Portland, but my hopes were not nearly as high as they were years ago. I parked in a no parking zone and hopped out to take a look. I saw... bedrock! Not what I was expecting. Anyway, I drove around some more and saw some wood, but the first drop looked worth the effort to me, so I did some research and found out my mystery creek was Oswego creek. I tried to find when they did releases, but this project fell on the wayside as more promising creeks emerged.

----------- Fastforward to last weekend.
----------- "........sound of water rushing..........Hey Jacob, its Matt. Thats the sound of Oswego creek dropping over a 30 foot slide in downtown Lake Oswego. Give me a call back, we should dawn patrol this one...." or something like that. It was one of those moments where I realized what I like about being a kayaker.

I like kayaking. Look at that smile!
I called back and he informed me he came across the creek after riding his bike to pick up a ladder, how some things happen.
The drive home from Bend was brutal and I almost fell asleep a few times, I even think I had a dream or two... However, the thought of the mission kept me going and motivated to make it to Portland that night where Nate, Matt and I awaited the mornings events. I was up as soon as I heard footsteps in the hall. Gametime!
We skipped breakfast (saved for later I should say, thanks Caitlin!) and loaded up. We were in high spirits and showed up at the put in bridge to see... other kayakers!

After we were informed of the protocal for the day (dont be on river right due to landowner issues), we went to the put in and did some scouting before dropping this awesome 30 foot slide! So much fun.
I gave a couple whistle blasts to let the police know we were there to ensure some excitement, then Matt and Nate dropped down Blue angel style. Matt's paddle got caught in some rocks and he almost lost it while flipping, but kept it upright and retrieved his paddle. We then all hiked up for round two as the LOPD showed up with an unhappy landlady. I like to think they heard me whistling to them from the police station, but something tells me the 6 or 7 brightly clad kayakers shlepping around in the ladies backyard may have had something to do with their arrival :)

Nate and I Blue angel the slide for round two
Matt, Nate and I had an escape plan already so just took off downstream (loggy creeks with multiple portages make for slow get-aways though) and into the Willamette. The other group got to talk to the cops, but we weren't doing anything illegal so they were able to go for a few more laps and the police made for some interesting media.

From left to right; angry landlady, police officer, Chuck Taylor, Bryon Dorr, Ryan Scott

Nate making his escape through the runout
We paddled a quarter mile to a boat ramp, geared down, and hiked our boats a quarter mile down neighborhood roads to Matt's house where we were treated to a breakfast suited for knights. The best dawn patrol mission I have ever been on by far. Pretty much a perfect day of kayaking for me. Matt and Nate had more in mind so hit the truss, and Matt got, if I remember right, his first no portage descent of the Truss.
Put in-outlet for Lake Oswego
Take out-Matt King's house.
total length-1.5 miles.
first documented decent-Sept 25, 2010 by Luke Spensor and crew.
This creek only runs once every five years in order for the city to clean sewage pipes beneath the lake surface. I think today may have been the last day, but its worth a look on the way home from work...

A job well done

All photos: Matt King

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