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Salem Sternwheeler Faces Inspection Deadline

The Willamette Queen sternwheeler at Salem could become a floating restaurant rather than a cruise vessel if it can’t meet an inspection deadline.

The Salem Statesman Journal reports that owner and operator Richard Chesbrough says he and the Coast Guard disagree about its fiberglass hull.

Chesbrough can’t get the vessel downstream from Salem for a dry-dock inspection at Portland because of the closure of the damaged locks at Willamette Falls near Oregon City.

The Coast Guard says a diving inspection in Salem couldn’t spot problems in a fiberglass hull.

The sternwheeler draws 10,000 to 15,000 passengers a year for cruises, as well as meals. Weddings are booked as well, and Chesbrough says half a dozen are scheduled next spring.

The inspection deadline is Dec. 31. He wants an extension.

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