The Wheatland Ferry is a cable ferry that connects Marion County and Yamhill County across the Willamette River in the U.S. state of Oregon. The ferry travels approximately 580 feet (178 meters) across the river, depending on the height of the river, and is powered by two electric motors connected to an on-board diesel generator. The ferry is supported by two steel cables, one under water on the downriver side, and one overhead on the upriver side. The ferry also uses the overhead cable for steering.
Each time a replacement Wheatland ferry is launched, it is always named Daniel Matheny, after the person who originally established the ferry, followed by its number as a Roman numeral. The current ferry, launched in 2002 is Daniel Matheny V. This most recent ferry differs from its predecessors in that it has a capacity of nine cars, rather than the six Daniel Matheny IV carried, and it has its own self-contained diesel-electric generator. As its source of electricity is now an onboard generator, the current ferry is no longer reliant on electricity from overhead wires. The overhead cable serves the sole purpose of bracing the ferry against the current.
The ferry is a joint operation of Marion and Yamhill counties, with Marion County taking the responsibility of staffing and operating the ferry. It operates every day that river conditions permit. In summer, low water levels can cause the ferry to bottom out. Dredging is sometimes employed to deepen the ferry's crossing lane to keep it operating longer during the dry season. During rainy months, high water levels and fast currents can stop ferry operations.
All vehicles must pay a toll. Pedestrians travel at no charge.
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