Oregon History Uncategorized

Christmas Week Floods, 1964

Ellis Lucia, photojournalist and author of “The Big Blow” and “Don’t Call It Or-e-gawn” released “Wild Water” in 1965 to commemorate flooding, frigid temps that took place on the Pacific Slope in December of 1964.

Following are some of the photos that illustrate the destruction.

The new John Day Bridge was ripped away, causing three deaths.

That’s a home and debris, leaning against – or floating by –  the Morrison Bridge.

The River Queen restaurant, former ferry, “took a romp.” Wonder what ever happened to the River Queen. Here’s the whole story here and great information and current photos from the Ghost Towns forum and the West Coast Ferries Forum. Currently moored in Goble, Oregon and possibly headed for the scrap heap is the scoop. I smell a field trip.

12 replies on “Christmas Week Floods, 1964”

I’ve been contemplating a field trip to see the River Queen too! Let me know if you want to round up and expedition…

I worked at the River Queen in 1990 when I was 19 or 20. I live in WI now but my mom told me today that it had a fire and was no more. I was trying to find out if what has happened to it. I still have a paper place mat from there. I also celebrated my sweet 16 birthday there. I have a very memorable picture that was takin that night at dinner. 🙂

I sorta remember that (I was just a kid at the time). Mostly I remember I had the mumps and had to stay nearby in the car while the rest of the family was busy working sandbags by the river.

This is off of the flood topic, but since you mentioned the River Queen…

I enjoyed eating at the River Queen many times. I recall it being considered a pretty good place to eat in the 60s and 70s. I remember my teetotaling parents being rather miffed because the bar occupied the space with the best view at the end of the boat.

It was a great place to watch ships and boats and just to be near the water. One time tugs turned an ocean-going ship right outside the window where we were eating. You don’t see that from your average restaurant.

I was 14 at the time. The temps had really warmed up and it was Xmas vacation. So my best friend & I went down to the river near N. Russell to check it out. It was really high and we started across some mud to get a closer look. When I stepped onto the mud toe-first, my foot got sucked into the muck. The suction kept me from pulling my foot back out. Panic! The only way I could free myself was by pulling my foot out of my boot. Once we were back on stable soil we were covered in mud. Luckily it was raining so that by the time we got home in Irvington most of it had washed off. It was a somewhat scarey experience.

I vividly remember my dad taking my two older brothers and me downtown along the old Harbor Drive not far from the Journal Building to watch the water spilling over the sea wall!!Suddenly-and thankfully-he came to his senses and shouted “what the hell are we doing down here, that damn wall could breach at anytime!” and we jumped into the Ford Fairlane and sped back over the Steel Bridge to my grandparents house on N. Vancouver/Jessup/Moore to ‘safety’!lol…I remember it like it was yesterday; I was 4 and that impression still sticks in my mind.My brothers, mom and I retell that story and have a great laugh! Thanks for your blog/site and bringing back some great memories of pdx…some day I’ll post some stories about taking the Rose City busses with my grandmother downtown in the early 60s and the elevator operators at Meier & Frank/Lipman-Wolfes-we’ve lost way too many cool buildings that made Portland so livable and people-scaled! Cheers, Tim

That’s the house boat up against the bridge that my two sisters and i were raised in. It was the last house boat on the down stream side of the Holgate moorage. The entire moorage was wiped out. I walked across the bridge and could see our Christmas tree knocked over and the presents strewn about through the window.

In the 1950’s Walter L. Nutting purchased and converted the former ferry “Shasta” into what eventually became the well known “River Queen” restaurant. He passed away in 1989, but not without inspiring me to love the waters of the Pacific N.W.

My name is Capt. Michael R. Simonsen, the only grandson to Walt Nutting. I plan to generate, share and publish on the web, the remaining family pictures that exists, regarding the “River Queen”. My mother remains the only surving child of Walt and Winnifred Nutting and is now in her 80 ‘s. There most likely isn’t anyone alive that knows factual details about the “River Queen” than my mom or myself, but possibly my Uncle Jack, prior to the Roylance family purchasing her back in the early 70’s.

I owe a lot to my grandfather, he shaped my life to work hard, to give a good hand shake and to be honest with all my words.

I currently reside in the Mid-Atlantic and serve as principle captain of the NOAA Research Vessel “Chesapeake”. I owe my respected career on the water to my only hero, my grandfather Walter L. Nutting.

Standby to standby for future info. on the River Queen Restaurant during its regal gallant period as Portland’s only floating restaurant.

Hi, John: I’m Mike SImonsen’s cousin, Tamara Ross Bertell, and I spent a lot of time on the River Queen between the ages of 1 and 5 when my mother, Walt Nutting’s youngest daughter, Donna, and I lived with them after the death of my father in March 1962 . . . it was a family business, and my mother cocktailed there while she finished her BA at Portland State . . . it was very elegant and posh in the day . . . men needed ties and jackets, and my grandma, Winnie, who oversaw the hostess desk, also made sure there were a few extras around if needed.

The River Queen opened in early May 1962 . . . I have documentation of the opening date, and also vividly remember my grandpa Walt and my Uncle Bob (Mike’s dad) coming home after riding the RIver Queen downriver from where she was originally moored under the Sellwood Bridge to her new home on NW Front . . . they were worn out . . . I was a couple of months shy of 4yo at the time.

My mom, Donna, died in March 2009, and my step-dad Jack, likely has quite a bit of memorabilia in their basement.

I’ve got tons of fabulous memories and a few collectible items . . . and, I also recall watching the center section of the Fremont Bridge being raised from the River Queen’s windows shortly after my grandpa Walt sold the River QUeen to the Roylance family . . . and that was the beginning of the end of her glory days.


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