As Predicted, Derelict Barge 202
by Scott Learn
Barge 202, the hulking derelict vessel anchored downstream of the The Dalles Dam, sank in high winds on the Columbia River sometime Thursday night or Friday morning, said the man who had hoped to salvage it.
David Harris of Lyle, Wash., lived on the barge off and on since August, bailing when necessary to keep the rusting hulk afloat.
But Harris ran into a bureaucratic logjam, with state and federal regulators saying it was too dangerous for him to bring the barge in on his own. The agencies, ranging from the U.S. Coast Guard to Washington's Department of Natural Resources, said they either didn't have authority to remove the barge or didn't have the money to do it themselves.
Harris, an out-of-work construction contractor, warned the barge would sink once rougher weather kicked in. Sometime after he last saw it Thursday night, Harris said, it did. Friday morning, he saw it had disappeared. Late Friday afternoon, he scouted the barge site on his fishing boat amid 10-foot swells and saw the barge wedged in the mud, completely underwater.
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