History of RCYC

Rose City Yacht Club traces its beginnings to 1932, when 20 Portland boaters organized the Rose City Cruising Club, with headquarters at the Staff Jennings marina on the Willamette River.

In February 1939, a group of 10 organized the club, naming it Rose City Yacht Club. A floating Clubhouse was built and moored at Tomahawk Island and the membership grew to 35. With the

onset Of World War II, the membership voted to disband for the duration. The clubhouse was used by the Coast Guard in wartime, and later sold to the new Columbia River Yacht Club.

After the war the club was reformed, and in 1948 the tug Defender was purchased and moored at Columbia Moorage as a clubhouse. While remodeling was underway the tug sank at its mooring, but Undaunted club members raised it and completed the job. Two years later the club was moved down- stream to the Larry Knoll property at 73rd and Marine Drive. Soon after, the Defender sank again. This time it was a total loss - and meetings were conducted thereafter at the CRYC clubhouse.

In the meantime the RCYC do-it-yourself tradition became firmly established as members pitched in and installed new walkways, wiring and a well water system. Early in 1953 work began on a new Clubhouse financed by bonds sold to members and with all labor performed by the membership. As The list of members passed 100, in 1956 the two walks of the moorage were extended 50 feet, and 300 additional feet of frontage were leased from the Port of Portland.

With proceeds of a new membership bond issue in 1957, work parties constructed two new walks, doubling the club moorage capacity. A social highlight of the year was the first RCYC Commodore's Ball. Another $6,000 bond issue was required in 1958 to dredge silted areas in the moorage.

In 1960 RCYC became affiliated with the Pacific International Yachting Association, and several members participated in the first PIYA sponsored NorPac Sailing Race from the Columbia River light-ship to Port Townsend. This year also saw completion of a new ramp from the lower parking lot to the moorage.

The Columbus Day storm was the big news of 1962. Our clubhouse snapped its mooring chains and set sail for Vancouver, catching up in midstream on the lower tip of Lemon Island sandpit. A tug retrieved it with only slight damage.

In 1963 the club was free of debt, with all construction and dredging bonds redeemed. The moorage was improved with the installation of a new water supply system and the grading and graveling of the lower parking lot. Subsequent improvements included the installation of security fences with maginetic card locks at the walkway entrances, rewiring of the clubhouse, purchase of two new electric galley stoves, and the construction and launching of a club workboat, the Rose Bud.

In 1966, following negotiations with the Port of Portland, RCYC undertook another major expansion Program. The Knoll property was abandoned, and the club leapfrogged downriver, adding 370 Frontage feet to the 300 already under lease from the Port. The $40,000 project was completed in 1967, with financing provided by a $16,000 membership bond issue and the balance from the Port on a nine- year lease-loan repayment agreement. RCYC's "New Look" featured five new, wider walks; a new well; a new floodlighted parking moorage and a small boat dry storage float.

Another windstorm early in 1971 toppled several pilings, revealing wide spread dry rot. After athorough survey, 23 pilings were replaced in time to beat the spring freshet. Low water during 1973, 1974 and 1975 seriously hindered racing and cruising activity. Although dredging in 1976 restored a minimum of eight foot depth throughout the moorage, a hydraulic study indicated the silting problem was likely to continue indefinitely, and a search for a new location began.

Soon the Ed Hargrave moorage, about two miles downstream, was purchased. The property offered Ready access to deep water in a good sailing area, 600 feet of waterfront and ample land space for a parking lot and future clubhouse site.

A new moorage layout was designed and the entire area dredged to a minimum depth of eight feet. About 13,000 cubic yards of spoil were deposited in the parking lot area, new piling driven, and a new steel ramp constructed. A drainage system was installed in the parking lot, and protective rip-rap placed on the bank. Cost of all improvements was raised through the sale of bonds to members.

Other than dredging, pile driving and parking lot construction, all work was performed by members without pay. Members also contributed their time and their boats to the task of moving the clubhouse, club walks and individual houses and slips to the new location. New plumbing and wiring were installed, and the entire job completed in time for a celebration at the close of 1976.

During 1977 and 1978 a second steel ramp was constructed, flag pole erected and tee slips constructed. Due to silting in, possibly from the Mt. St. Helens eruption and 1-205 bridge construction, nearly 10,000 yards were dredged in 1982.

A new roof was put on the clubhouse, gas furnace was installed, and the galley rearranged with new stove, dishwasher, microwave oven and water heater.

A contract to rebuild Walk #1 was awarded to Larson Marine Services. This was for the inshore half and included new logs, stringers and decking. The project was completed in November and the cost was $15,000.

In spring 1984 the remainder of Walk #1 was rebuilt and a wave barrier was added. The breakwater walk was reinforced and the dolphins there were faced with protective metal pipe. The members voted to spend $36,000 to design and install a new under walk electrical system with a hookup between each two slips. The members also did much of the work.

The Property Development Committee gave a presentation to the membership on the building of a shore side clubhouse, and at least 2/3 of the members voted their approval to pursue the issue, but it was later voted down.

The First Mates organization went inactive at the end of 1984, to be replaced by a social activities committee.

1985 was the year the boats needed wheels. Dredging was accomplished and boats back in place by November. It was also the year the electrical installation was completed giving every slip an outlet and no overhead wiring. A new water system was designed by member Ray Dougherty that was installed in one day by the largest work party since the club moved.

The clubhouse has been improved with new tables and chairs, shutters and carpets in the section by the galley. The galley was enlarged by 50% and made modern with new stoves, refrigerators, microwave oven and countertops. The cabinets were modernized and a movable work table provided. A large share of this work was done by members and The First Mates provided the new equipment. The old warehouse was removed and the parking lot re-graveled.

1988 saw additional work on the clubhouse. Furniture was refurbished with new laminate on table- tops, and new paint for both tables and chairs. The club jukebox was also replaced with a modern stereo system. Silting in the moorage continued to be a problem, and after careful consideration of the alternatives, the club purchased a dredge from the Portland Rowing Club. A cadre of operators was trained, and by year's end Walks #4 and #5 had been dredged at a minimal cost. RCYC also continued its cruising traditions, with record turnouts at the spring Sand Island and fall Beacon Rock Cruises.

1990 was the year of the sand. Our dredge put a 10' trench above Walk #1 to catch sand before it reached the club. Walk #2 was dredged to -8' which is deeper than ever before. All this dredging created quite a sand pile where the old warehouse used to stand.

The old pump house was removed. Lots of sand was moved to the banks and when they were graded, grass was planted which has really improved the look of the grounds. New underground wiring was installed in the parking lot along with some new lighting. As an alternative to our all wood slips, a 38' fiberglass T-slip was built.

In 1991 RCYC continued to make major improvements to the moorage. A long range plan was adopted calling for the replacement of our walkways with concrete walkways by 1998. The first 90 feet of concrete walkway was installed on Walk #2 with plans to replace all of Walk #2 and Walk #3 with concrete in 1992. The plan outlined capital improvements through the year 2005. The membership also voted to begin planning a replacement clubhouse to be completed in 1997 or 1998.

Membership continued to grow and the moorage was full most of the year. With a full moorage the financial strength of the club grew so that major improvements could be made without any special assessments or dues increases.

1992 saw the beginning steps toward implementing the Long-Range Plan for club improvements. We installed concrete walkways on Walks #2 and #3 and redecked and restrung the northern breakwater.

The club celebrated its sixtieth anniversary with a Gala Day Birthday Party on Opening Day at the beginning of May.

December's mean easterlies and the fact that Salty's no longer provides any protection for Walk #1 resulted in damage to the inboard section of Walk #1. An assessment of the damage was made and the Board brought this information to the club members at a general meeting where it was moved and seconded to make the repairs with a concrete walkway. It is hoped to do this early in 1993.

1993 was a pivotal year for RCYC. We began with the need to replace Walk #1. After considerable research the club voted to place itself in debt to the amount of $346,252 for 7-1/2 years to replace the entire walk in concrete, supported by steel pilings. A contract was drawn up with a local firm.

Larson's Marine. This company could build us a structure with cast in place T-slips which would provide the moorage with the maximum protection from the occasional and predictive east winds. Negotiations and permits delayed the beginning of construction to October, with completion scheduled for February 1994.

The major event of 1993 was the burning of the mortgage and this was done in true RCYC fashion. It certainly was quite a party, with German sausages, Scottish bagpipes, the clubhouse filled to capacity with happy people and a Fire Marshall to oversee the actual burning.

The clubhouse was finally hooked into a new sewer line through a unique, one design, floating tank and a donated electric panel. An oil collecting container was built and installed in the parking lot. By Laws changes were made to: reduce the Board size from 11 to 9 by combining the positions of Secretary and Treasurer and reducing the number of directors by 1 and to change our procedures for accepting new members. The membership voted in a $35/quarter increase in our capital improvement assessment as well as increasing the amount new members must put into their refundable bond to $500.

1994 was a banner year for the club seeing the complete replacement of Walk #1 with new steel pilings and the installation of our concrete walk featuring cast in place T-slips. The whole operation was supervised by many "rail-birds" and the front of the clubhouse was the best seat on the river. By mid-summer the new electrical and water systems were in place and boats were again shuffled to put the moorage back in order. All was thought to be well, but Mother Nature had other ideas. The first strong winter east winds caused some hinge and pile-hoop damage which required some rethinking and repair.

On the social side of things RCYC enjoyed some record turnouts for cruises and functions. One of the highlights of the year was our support and sponsorship of a fund raising event for "Team Portland" the racing yachts "Rage", "Sting" and "Magic Carpet" entered in the 1995 Pacific Cup race to Hawaii. Over 300 supporters showed up maxing out the clubhouse to say the least. Over $4,500 was raised and all three boats did super in the race. "Rage" set a new course record.

1995 - What a year!! It started with high winds from the east that damaged Walk #1 and ended with high winds from the south that toppled 10 piling.

On the business side, the major topic of year was Walk #1. After outside engineers looked over the walk and reviewed its design, it was determined that the structure was under-designed and would not stand up to the wind and wave force present at that location. The club started legal action against the contractors and this issue remained unresolved at the end of the year.

Because of the legal expenses and uncertainty regarding Walk # 1, the club had postponed replacing 25 older wood piling in the moorage until 1996. A December wind storm, which topped 10 piling changed those plans. The membership voted to assess all active members $300 to cover the cost of replacing all 25 piling.

A new storage shed/shower was built and a major remodel of the men's head in the clubhouse was started with the moving of the hot water heater and furnace to the attic area.

On the social side the membership voted in an "Activities Fee" which would cover the cost of most club events which were well attended. All the club cruises saw large turnouts (over 30 boats on Lazy Days) and great weather (over 90 degrees on Memorial Day).

The moorage remains full and a waiting list of up to a year was faced by those wanting moorage.

1996 was the year we resolved many uncompleted projects and unfinished issues. But first, we had to withstand yet another weather related emergency. The Commodore's Ball was postponed due to severe icing and for the next week many members lives were put on hold as they struggled around the clock to save the moorage from flood related damage. Fortunately, it got better from there.

We hosted Opening Day the first weekend in May at Hayden Island Yacht Club - we weren't yet ready for visitors. The Luau came back and Oktoberfest was better than ever. But it seemed somehow that mostly we worked.

The piling were replaced. The stringers under the clubhouse were fixed to eliminate the buoyancy problems. The Walk #1 arbitration preparation continued as Walk #1 itself disintegrated further.

Musical boats was the name of the game as we labored to keep as many members in the moorage as possible. Then, finally things fell in place. Walk #4's ultimate replacement was acquired early to use temporarily on Walk #1. The members voted for a $150,000 E bond issue to fund the project. Just as
that installation began, the arbitration was settled with a check. By the end of the year, temporary Walk # 1was in place and, with it, came the prospects of a full moorage.

1997 was the year when the weather finally treated us more gently. During the year we had a lot of fun, we borrowed and spent a lot of money, and we made some major property improvements in our facilities. All of Rose City's traditional cruises, social events, and other activities continued during the year as members enjoyed good weather and having good times on and near the river.

Progress was made on major projects and many smaller ones. A contract for a replacement of Walk #1, to be built by Bellingham Marine, was signed during the fall of 1997, bringing the long standing issue of replacing Walk #1 close to a final conclusion. After reviewing all project financing options, the traditional RCYC financing method of internal bond sales was combined with a bank loan to
obtain the funds to pay for the new walk. Existing D and E series bonds were refunded and new F series bonds were sold. Installation of the new Walk #1 will take place in early 1998. During the low water in the fall, rip rap was placed on the eastern part of the river bank to prevent further erosion.

Increasing costs finally caught up with us, forcing a modest increase in moorage rates, the first in nine years.

1998 - In the spring we cut the ribbon on the replacement of the concrete Walk #1 dock and a new concrete Walk #4 dock - a $650,000 investment. We are in debt again, and this time we even let a bank in on it. Many members chipped in with a lot of labor and part of the financing for the venture.

The new docks significantly increased our overall worth and the tax person is significantly increasing his take. For this reason moorage rates had to be raised a bit, but two-thirds of our dockage is now concrete.

This was also the year of either a higher river bottom or lower water for longer than usual. But thanks to a hard working and inventive dredge crew, we came out in good shape with a much improved dredge and a big pile of sand. Also this year saw the initiation of a cruise to Victoria, and sad to say, the last Oktoberfest.

1999 was the year of the "quarterdores" as our Vice Commodore reluctantly resigned because of family health problems. The Nominating Committee tapped 4 previous commodores (John Dees, Lynn Easton, Ron Moran and Jack Mitchem) for the privilege of leading the club through the year.

Our popular educational program included a revised kid's day on boating safety.

Dredging continued to be an issue and the Board elected to convert the existing dredge to hydraulics and generally upgrade it for continuing service. The alternative - a new dredge - was a little out of reach financially.

The uneventful rollover to the year 2000 was celebrated by a smashing New Year's Eve party.

2000 - Is it the first year of a new century or the last year of the old century? No matter, RCYC just keeps rolling along, and getting better and better. The year was kind to us weather wise: no storms, no floods, no problems.

The big news all year was "The Dredge"! We kept the dredge busy moving sand out of the moor- age by starting early and working right up to the end of our seasonal permit period. Our good 01' dredge did the job with greatly improved efficiency due to our investment in, and hands on completion of, the second phase of our dredge modernization and improvement program. A few of the major items included a new main pump, new gantry, rebuilt and enlarged house, new hydraulically driven primer pump and other improvements to the hydraulic systems. Boy, did we move a lot of sand! All the fairways were dredged to design depths. We even dredged some slips that were in desperate need of more water. A new topographic feature arose in the parking lot that many were calling "Mt. Rose" (a few feet higher and we would have had to place an aircraft warning beacon on its summit!). Thanks to a serendipitous arrangement with a local contractor, the dredge pond was dug out several times during the season. This same contractor will also remove the massive pile of sand during the off
season at no cost to RCYC.

2000 was also a year for rebuilding RCYC membership. The year started with too many empty slips and the realization that membership was declining. By years end, the moorage was full, and we have many new members and new friends. We hosted an open house and invited prospective new members to our new social event, the RCYC "Ice Cream Social". This new event and recruiting tool worked very well for us.

The year was not entirely devoted to dredging and membership. We also initiated a small scale, incremental program of moorage improvements. We ordered small quantities of concrete "fingers" from Bellingham Marine for spring and fall delivery. The new fingers were used to replace old and failing wood tee slips. All installation work was done by members, and included the refitting of walk 2 to provide adequate space between boats. This incremental approach to moorage improvement was so successful that it is being carried forward to 2001 and beyond.

2001 at RCYC began well. The dredge was pumping, and a full crew was scheduled. RCYC publications came into the 21 century as the yearbook was converted to a professional digital format and the Foghorn was available on the Internet. Electrical rates were changed to a specific rate by walk, based on the actual history of each walk, to be updated annually. We got through the winter and spring without floods or storms. the year looked like smooth sailing, but the river had other ideas. In mid-July the river level dropped, the Headwalk was aground, and our floating shower/storage building capsized. a midnight crew rescued much of the supplies and equipment, but our RCYC sustained
losses. Low water was grounding the Headwalk twice daily through July and August, causing structural damage. We secured a permit and did some emergency dredging under the inboard end of Walk 1, to protect it from further damage. A "Headwalk Reconfiguration Committee" was formed to develop a remedy. The project would clearly involve the Headwalk, the bank, and some more
dredging. Construction was proposed for 2002.

Low water and broken docks did not prevent RCYC from sailing and cruising. The annual Lazy Days cruise was well attended and appropriately disorganized.

RCYC boats did very well in the Oregon Offshore. Membership was a bright note, with new members joining almost every month. 2001 saw the first volunteer organized river beach clean up. RCYC represented itself well, providing two workboats and skippers along with club volunteers.

The year ended with the dredge pumping, and a full crew scheduled. There was a lot of talk about Headwalk design, and a continued interest in community involvement and service.

2002 was the "Year of the Headwalk". The Club undertook the project that would see the replacement of the old wooden headwalk, which through time and damage from the low water of 2001 was nearing the end of its useful life. This was one of the most complex construction projects in the history of RCYC. Several members with expertise in planning, finance, and construction stepped forward to oversee the various phases of the $350,000 project through to successful completion.

To allow for excavation and placement of additional riprap, the shop, dinghy floats, and clubhouse were temporarily relocated. The old headwalk was cut into sections and removed. The river bank was excavated and new riprap was placed to protect the new slope. After placement of the riprap, the new sections of head walk were installed and the walkways were reconnected. Simultaneously, the
electrical distribution panels were totally updated and upgraded. Through all the mayhem, only one club meeting had to be held elsewhere. At the end of the year, after two months of construction, the new headwalk was in place, complete with electricity.

With the completion of dredging early in the year, all fairways and nearly all slips were brought to their design depths. This resulted in yet another pile of sand in the parking lot, but it was gone by the time the head walk project started. Thanks to this effort, the loss of half the dredging window late in the year due to the headwalk work was of no consequence.

2003 was a quiet year at RCYC. A mild winter spared us calamitous events within the moorage and we were able to concentrate our efforts and energies on social events, cruising and making the grounds and clubhouse more presentable. Committees were established to plan the remodeling on the club house; to
establish a plan for the storage, showers and dredge floots; and to plan for the cleanup of the parking lot and grounds. By the year end the lot committee had executed one of their plans; the terracing of the south bank, simplifying grounds upkeep. the floats and storage committee had proposed a plan for a float that
would support the dredge, the shop. the showers and some storage and were collecting data for its design; and the club house committee had established a plan for the inside of the club house, and most of the cabinetry was completed. The actual remodel wouldn't begin until February 2004.

Dredging went well until a hole was worn in the pump casing. A repair was effected and the dredge was in operation again in about a week.

2004 came in like a lion. We started the year with an ice and snowstorm, which left the moorage without water. The resident members lived on bottled water for nearly a week. The soup and sail was postponed because of the weather. The
only benefit from the storm was we now know where the weaknesses are/were in the water system. They have been fixed.

In February, the clubhouse was gutted and a dedicated group of folks spent an unlimited amount of time remolding the building. The finished product was well worth their effort and now enjoyed by everyone. By spring the work parties had
the grounds cleaned up, the junk disappeared, the grass was mowed and the place looked like a yacht club once again.

With Opening Day came the start of the sailing season with all that it implies. An assortment of cruises, special events and walk parties were executed. Grass was planted on the south side of the parking lot. One more step completed in the
beautification of the property. The establishment of a home for the dredge developed into a full-blown Walk 5 replacement and a shower, storage and dredge float. Opps! The dolphins securing the Breakwater are pulling out. The increased river traffic has not been kind to them. An emergency replacement project was started with the necessary permits obtained with the final completion being accomplished within the in the "water work window". Walk 5 is now on hold.

2004 was a year of hard work and cooperation by the members who can now reap the rewards of their efforts.

2005 began with an emergency project at the club. The wooden pilings holding the club breakwater in place began showing signs of failure last summer. The engineering report received in late December confirmed the need to replace the pilings. While the permit process was underway, contracts were written and signed with Hickey Marine. Permits were received on February 8, and work began February 11. The last piling was installed on February 14, thus providing a great Valentine's day present for the Club.

Fastening the piling to the breakwater was completed by March 31.

RCYC was the host club for Opening Day this year. Spring work parties were spent preparing the facilities for this event. RCYC sparkled like the gem we all know her to be. The ceremonies and parade were held under cloudy, but rainless, skies. The Daughters of Neptune and Sea Scouts presented the colors and hoisted the burgees. And, the "mountain" of hors dhouvres served to guests after the parading of the fleet was truly impressive.

The fall began with the resumption of work parties to prepare the club for the winter. The Walk 5 Planning Committee began meeting to plan the layout and obtain estimates of costs for putting in Walk 5 so that the Long Range Planning Committee could project when this could be accomplished. And, for the first time in many years, there is no dredging to be done. This has prompted some members of the dredging crew to suffer withdrawal symptoms. However, the dredge has been keeping us busy in another way. We have begun the process to obtain the next 5-year permit. So far, the process is creating substantially more work for those involved. In expectation of the significant higher costs, the membership approved a one-year increase in the dredge fees.

And lastly, the year roared out. December saw an ice storm, several days of high wind and lots of rain. However, all the work in the moorage has paid off with little damage reported.