Governance: Why We Do What We Do

Fall/Winter 2018

“Daring leadership is ultimately about serving other people, not ourselves.

That’s why we choose courage.”

Brene Brown, Dare to Lead

After wrestling with our status (an LLC? a B-Corp?), Friends of Frog Ferry has filed for a 501(c)(3) status, with thanks to Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP and the guidance of Jonathan Harms, Charitable Partnership Fund. The core of our mission is to benefit the general public, and we are providing a role that typically is carried out by a public transit agency—to lead and advocate for a new mode of transit. To avoid sounding like an operator, which we are not at this time, we have evolved the name to match the role: Friends of Frog Ferry. If we get to a “Go” decision, then a public agency such as PBOT will likely issue an RFP for operators, at which time, we would likely respond as “Frog Ferry.”

Our Mission: Friends of Frog Ferry (FFF) exists to benefit the general public in the Portland- Vancouver metropolitan area by organizing local government agencies and advocating with the general public to coalesce and pursue a regional passenger ferry service.

Mission Statement: To create a safe and sustainable river-friendly passenger ferry service to better connect people to their river and help alleviate traffic congestion in the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan area.

Directors: We are delighted to report that we have an outstanding board comprised of leaders in the community who share a passion for bringing a passenger ferry service to the region. Scott South, Chair Friends of Frog Ferry (President of Stevens Water) Susan Bladholm, President/Founder Friends of Frog Ferry Allison Tivnon, Secretary Friends of Frog Ferry (Partner/Marketing Director for ECONorthwest Dan Bower, Director Friends of Frog Ferry (Executive Director for the Portland Streetcar) Sue Van Brocklin, Director Friends of Frog Ferry (Vice President/PR Director for Coates Kokes

Pearls Before Swine

How cool is it to find five emails from friends October 26th, the morning this comic was published, and then to ask Steve Pastis for permission to reprint and have him respond 12-hours later with “Go for it.”


(continued from Page 1 Why We Do What We Do)

Goals and Due Diligence: Create a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Funding Entity to allow funding contributions from all sources: governmental, corporate, foundations and individuals.

  • Create the FFF entity that allows for independence and flexibility looking to the future—as the project may shift given the unusual nature of the business model. (Most public commuter transit services are generated by public entities.)
  • Integrate with public sector transportation entities that have funding. Need to find a public transit agency “sponsor” to request/apply/administer federal (and local) funding.
  • Partner with a local nonprofit infrastructure planning entity as a Fiscal Sponsor—to integrate Passenger Ferry Service into regional transportation planning efforts.
  • Ensure ability to receive private sector funds—with a bonus that funding will be tax deductible.

Feasibility Studies We Are Working to Fund


What We Can Learn From The San Francisco Ferry System A letter from Susan

In late September, I met with Mike Gougherty, of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), which oversees the San Francisco Ferry System. For many years, the agency was called “WTA,” but resilience planning was added to the mission in 2008, and thus “E” for “Emergency” was added. Mike has been very generous with his time and has offered to travel to meet with us in the future and provide his insights.

WETA was created in 1999 by a blue-ribbon panel the Bay Area Council created. They were chartered to create and maintain the vision to start a service. As Mike said, “A ferry service is modular, and if a route changes, you don’t have to rip up rail lines or roadways. You have a flexibility in your operations where you can reconfigure your dock sites, or add special services such as for ball games, depending on the market demand.” Like our region, they have a fluctuating tide, (theirs with a 7-foot range and ours with a 30-foot range), and they have been challenged to create ADA compliant gangways and docks not to exceed a 12:1 slope. He emphasized the need for a flexible dock design that works with multiple vessel freeboards, that floats, and that interfaces with a fixed point on land.

He went on to say that although time and cost is important, non-traditional factors such as ride quality and multitasking are also important drivers of success. WETA has a 20-year strategic plan, and they currently move 12,000 passengers a day (moving 4,000 commuters during their peak hours), operating at $33 million a year with one of the highest farebox recovery ratios in the country. Their ridership has doubled in the past five years. The “Clipper Card” is a single or monthly pass, which 90% of their passengers’ use. One can load value to the Clipper Card, and it is a popular recruitment and retention tool local companies provide their employees. They have no reservations for the commuter services, but offer special event service for concerts, games, conventions and large community special events.

Customer satisfaction ranks in the 90 percentiles, and most riders have other travel options but choose the ferry: 40% BART/Rail; 12% Bus; 18% Drive alone; 8% Carpool; 4% Casual Carpool; 7%TNC/Uber-Lyft, etc. 92% of riders have choices for how they commute. Why riders choose the ferry: 65% to avoid traffic/parking; 50% ride quality; 50% relaxing; 30% ability to multi-task; 28% faster; 15% environment; 13% sightseeing; 5% no car; 5% less expensive; 5% other.

For the “Last Mile” 57% walk; 18% take public transit; 13% bike; 7% Kiss and Ride (couples carpooling); and 5% take TNC. Rider Profile Age: 55% are 25-44; 21% are 45-54; 11% are 55-64; 8% are 65+ and 5% are under 25 years of age.


Top 10 Reasons Why Infrastructure Is important

Supports existing businesses Increases productivity Improves quality of life Enhances negotiation Facilitates economic development

Promotes a domino effect Links regions Stabilizes rates and taxes Achieves competitive advantage Assists in economic diversification

– Learning to Lead: A Primer on Economic Development Strategies by Maury Forman & Jim Mooney


Nov. 14th, First Friends of Frog Ferry Board Meeting

Nov. 16th, Oregon Transportation Commission presentation

Nov 19th: New Friends of Frog Ferry Website Launches

Nov. 27th, Press Conference—Supporters, we ask that you attend and arrive at 9:45 a.m. at the Portland Spirit Office: 110 SE Caruthers St. Please wear comfortable shoes and carry identification. We will remain dockside.

Dec. 5th: Friends Dinner, for our strongest supporters at Bladberry Farm, by invitation

Dec. 13th: Vancouver Friends of Frog Ferry Event: Christmas Ship Viewing, by invitation

Me Metro Council testimony


Thank you to our Pro Bono Partners:

Coates Kokes, PR

Summit Strategies, Federal Government Relations

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, Legal

CuPRUM+ Creative Design Northbound I-5 on a Monday at 3pm.

Horenstein Law Group, Local Government Affairs

The Leo Company, Local Government Affairs

Print Results, Printing

Viva Events, Event Planning

Have you Submitted your Letter of Support?

The key reason why we have been able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time is due to the support of individuals, public sector leaders and private sector champions—especially those who have voiced their support through written letters. Public sector leaders who are on the fence say their primary hesitation is due to wondering whether business leaders and the general public want a passenger ferry service. They need to hear from you—or you may simply provide your letter of support to us and we’ll be sure to circulate it.

Please indicate why you believe looking at a new mode of transit is important:

  • Transportation is key to economic prosperity
  • Transportation benefits commerce, freight mobility, and safety
  • We need leaders with vision and courage to advocate and move the process forward
  • We need bi-state and multi-agency engagement
  • List the benefits of a passenger ferry service

o Get employees to work, first iteration removes 500 cars off I-5, ferry service is modular

and flexible (less investment than roads and rails) o Lower transit time and cost. Benefits to the triple bottom line. o Resilience planning

Letters of support may be emailed to susan@frogferry.com. Examples of letters of support may be found at frogferry.com.

Frog Ferry Summer Update August 2018

Calling All Lions, Horses, and Dogs There is an old marketing adage about the three levels of supporters for change agent initiatives, and I find myself quickly assigning people into one of these three categories: lions, horses, and dogs. More than 150 meetings, phone calls, and conversations over the past year have been a terrific lesson in quickly assessing whether an individual is able and willing to help move the passenger ferry service initiative forward.

  1. LIONS – They are our champions and are willing to stick their necks out

and help lead the conversation. They like the idea and actively seek ways to move the effort forward by making introductions, by publicly voicing their support (and offering a letter of support), by presenting to key stakeholders, and by donating or finding funding for the effort. 2. HORSES – These individuals fully support the effort and want to see it

brought to fruition, but they look to see who else is making the leap before they fully commit. Knowing other leaders (LIONS) are jumping in to support the cause may motivate them to get off the fence and make the leap as well. 3. DOGS – Everyone loves an eager, excited puppy who wags his tail to show

excitement. However, following a meeting, dogs don’t follow up, and, although they have voiced their support, lay under a tree and take a nap. They don’t actively engage. We are nearing 300 supporters and stakeholders and today have about 50 lions, 150 horses, and 75 dogs–and no known detractors. Examples of lions we wish to thank include (but are far from limited to):

  • Teresa O’Neill, Travel Oregon, Funding and Introductions
  • Mike Bomar, Port of Vancouver, Siting and Strategic Planning
  • Sue VanBrocklin, Coates Kokes, Introductions, Strategy Insights, Meeting Host
  • Scott South, Stevens Water, Start-Up Executive, Frog Ferry Business Plan, Mentor
  • Matt Markstaller, Daimler, Frog Ferry Core Team, Presenter, Introductions
  • Andy Jansky, Flowing Solutions, Presenter, Core Team
  • Heather Barta, Cuprum Creative, Website and Concept Plan, Graphic Design

Tour of Vancouver Terminal One

A Letter from Susan

Happy Summer! We hope you are able to get out and enjoy our rivers and waterways during this scorching summer. Such activities have been limited for me since I broke my left arm and elbow on July 7th. This will be a long-term recovery effort, with a reduced ability to type. Thank you for your patience and for taking initiative in communications with me during my recovery.

Our efforts continue to move forward, due to the leadership of our champions. Key milestones since our spring update include:

Vancouver Engagement: We have enjoyed several pivotal meetings with Vancouver, Washington leaders, resulting in…

  • a potential dock site and conversations about how to handle access to the site via buses and other means.
  • the concept of creating “a virtual bridge” between Vancouver and Portland. Our service offering is iconic and provides a practical value. (Please note our efforts support the build of a new I-5 Bridge.)

Power Team – Boat Design and Propulsion: Given the interest from several engineers about how to create a reliable and green

(Continued pg. 2)


There are several funding conversations underway and what follows is a summary of current activities and discussions. In a perfect world, a public transit entity would lead this effort, however, we are pursuing a true public-private partnership, bringing together the best of both worlds. From the 150 meetings we’ve had thus far, we have learned the private sector will need to lead initial funding, and the public sector will help with research, planning, and federal funding outreach (which is the lion’s share of the financial contribution). Private Sector – Frog Ferry Founders: In the next month, we will launch an effort for $5,000-$25,000 supporters who will comprise our Founders’ Circle and their vision will live on in perpetuity. Because public sector funding takes a lot of time and is scarce, we are looking to the Portland Streetcar model, which had initial funding supplied by business leaders in the 1980s. This “Founders” funding will allow us to pursue the project full-time and turbo-charge our research, planning, and outreach work (see pg. 4). Public-Sector Planning: We have learned a lot about transportation planning efforts and the organizations behind the work through meetings with the agencies listed below. (Please note this is a summarized list through the Frog Ferry lens of priorities).

  • METRO: They are the regional planning authority that manages all federal transportation dollars. They have a facilitator and grant oversight role. They facilitate planning work, transportation modeling, grants, and are taking public comment for the Regional Transportation Plan which we are advocating for passenger ferry service inclusion. We must have METRO’s support to qualify for federal funding – for infrastructure development as well as on-going service subsidies.
  • Regional Transportation Commission: They are a metropolitan planning organization and facilitate grant funding for federal dollars. They are the Vancouver counterpart to METRO, and they fund mostly physical infrastructure. We especially appreciate their leadership in strategizing transportation modeling (the door-to-door experience of our prospective customers) and assessing local Vancouver infrastructure needs.
  • Oregon Department of Transportation: ODOT leadership is aware of our efforts, and outreach has included the state legislature’s Transportation Policy Committee Chair Representative Susan McLain, three ODOT Commissioners, and ODOT Director Matt Garrett. We have a request in for $200,000 for the Operations Planning/Feasibility Study. Action: Follow up with District 1 leadership.
  • Portland Bureau of Transportation/City of Portland: Funding was not included for the 2018-19 FY due to a series of communication mishaps and we will likely apply for a Special Appropriations Grant in August 2018.
  • City of Vancouver: We have a soft ask in to City Manager Eric Holmes for $100,000 for the Operations Plan/Feasibility Study. C-Tran’s involvement will be vital in our work with the region.
  • Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT): The Washington State Ferry System is a subdivision of WSDOT, and their ferries include autos due to funding via a gas tax.
  • TriMet: They have new leadership in place, and General Manager Doug Kelsey is from Vancouver BC and warm to ferry service. Members of the Frog Ferry team will meet with TriMet leadership in late August.
  • Greater Portland Inc.: 2020 Plan underway focuses on People → Talent, Business → Global, Place → Innovation. They are building a comprehensive regional strategy, and we may fit well in the infrastructure and innovation sector. We will apply to be included in the Greater Portland Mobility Tech Challenge.

(Continued pg. 3)

2 A Letter… (continued from pg. 1) energy solution, we have created our “Power Team,” convened by Engineer Kevin Bross. We are looking at emerging technologies and best practice models of services and new boat builds that are a good fit for our mission and waterways. Peter Wilcox, a renewable diesel expert who has championed for Willamette River taxi service for many years, is sharing insights about biodiesel versus renewable diesel versus natural gas. Work is underway on a carbon output study comparing one of our boats to 125 cars.

Business Plan: Vancouver business leader Scott South has outlined the Frog Ferry Business Plan, which is 80% completed. Our goal is to finish it in August to publish in September 2018.

Funding Matrix: We have created a matrix that outlines short-term planning (1-2 years), short term infrastructure development (2+ years), and long-term operations funding at the federal, state(s), local municipality, and foundation level. If you have suggestions for funding sources, please email them to susan@frogferry.com.

Thank you for your support, Susan Bladholm Frog Ferry susan@frogferry.com

3 Funding (continued from pg. 2)

  • Multnomah County: They oversee earthquake readiness in relation to bridges. They have few transportation funds, so emergency response is likely our best connection to the County.
  • Port of Vancouver: We applaud the leadership for their spirit of collaboration and for looking into how to maximize current riverfront development and promote two-way passenger service, including Portland residents to visit Vancouver and the new waterfront Gramor development. The Vancouver community appears to be very cohesive, from our case-study perspective, and much of what that is due to the Port’s leadership and work with key partner agencies such as CREDC, ICC, C-Tran, RTC, and the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

Vancouver Overview and Tour: On June 19th, twenty-five business leaders were briefed on the passenger ferry premise by John Sainsbury, of HMS Passenger Ferry Consulting; Andy Jansky, Flowing Solutions; Scott South, Stevens Water; and Susan Bladholm. John laid out best practices for successful global passenger ferry services; Andy spoke to dock and access infrastructure requirements; and Scott spoke to the need for business leadership involvement. The group reconvened at the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal, located west of the I-5 bridge, and outlined planned development, dock restrictions, and the vision for the site which is well-timed for incorporating a ferry service. Coming soon:

Founders’ Hour: Join us for an overview of the project and the opportunity to become a Frog Ferry Founder over cocktails in September. Founders at the $5,000-$25,000 levels will be recognized in perpetuity as having the vision to return passenger ferry service to our region. Recognition will be at Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. Email susan@frogferry.com for an invitation. Date: TBD.

Frog Ferry Dinner: All LIONS and HORSES will be invited for a complimentary dinner and brief strategy session at Bladberry Farm on Sauvie Island, home to many, many frogs. Mark your calendar. Key topics will include: marketing, engineering/propulsion, public/government affairs, funding partners, and private sector leadership. Date: TBD.

Please send letters of support to: susan@frogferry.com Briefing of Vancouver leadership at Catworks Construction

Vancouver’s Terminal One Site Tour

At Bladberry Farm, Sauvie Island

4 How does the Funding Work? What would my contribution pay for?

Phase I: Discovery July 2017-June 2018 Deliverable: Completed Funding: Susan Bladholm pro bono/out of pocket $150,000/$30,000 Concept Plan Delivered: Coalesced research, key challenges, research other ferry service efforts Generated 300+ Stakeholders and Supporters

  • Created the Operations Team, comprised of industry experts
  • Created the Strategy Team, comprised of government affairs and public affairs experts
  • Created Frog Ferry “Power” Team, comprised of engineers and vessels experts to look at power and propulsion options
  • Researched 2006 Willamette River Passenger Ferry Service; we meet all criteria for service
  • Outlined key public-sector partners and their role Sourced a boat for the mission Created website with aggregated content: letters of support, relevant studies, key contacts, research

Phase II July 2018-June 2019 Deliverables: $650,000 *This is our fundraising target. Funding: Private Sector and Grants Grow Stakeholder Group and Secure Public-Sector Commitments Create Operational Plan

  • Feasibility Study
  • River Access Report
  • Land Access Report
  • Equipment Specified
  • Vessel, staffing, certification, training Create Governance: B-Corp set up and Reporting Best Practice Research

Phase III July 2019-June 2020 Deliverables: $650,000 Funding: Public Sector and Grants Financial Plan and Funding Structure

  • Timing of investment by municipality
  • Subsidy plan and lobbying effort/bond
  • Solicitation/Securing of funds
  • Create Board and Advisory Board Federal and State Funding Entities Report

Phase IV July 2020-Jun 2021 Deliverable: Go/No-go TBD Funding: Federal Funding for Planning and Infrastructure Development

  • Implement Operations and Financial Plan
  • RFPs

Phase V July 2021-June 2022

  • Launch Service: Go live Summer 2022


March 3, 2018

Dear Frog Ferry Enthusiasts,                                                                                           

We continue to make headway on introducing the concept of a passenger ferry service in the Portland metropolitan area.  Recent activities and accomplishments include:

  • Support and Resistance to a Cultural Shift: We have not yet had anyone say, “This is not feasible,” or “This is a bad idea.”  To a person, everyone has been very supportive of the concept. A noticeable trend is Portland and Oregon public sector leaders indicating this is an overwhelmingly complex idea and that we don’t have local expertise or funding to tackle such an audacious venture.  This is not a criticism, but an observation, and, they are correct. This is a very ambitious project, however, it is a mode of transit that most major river cities around the world already have in place. In addition, there is growing interest from the local private sector, particularly employers along the river. Our friends in Washington State, with ties to the ferry system, are remarkably supportive and continue to offer insights.  In short, we are introducing a culture change; those who have experienced a ferry system are more confident with moving forward and those who haven’t been part of such a seismic shift are hesitant.


  • Outreach: The outreach has increased to key stakeholders within the loose categories of: Regional Economic Development and Transportation Entities; Portland and Vancouver-area Municipalities, State of Oregon leaders, Maritime Operators and Experts, Consultants and Stakeholders (from legal to finance to insurers to swimming advocacy, etc.).  We average five meetings and a dozen new contacts a week with 150 people on our list serve—all who are receiving this update.


  • Feasibility Study Funding Status:  Travel Oregon stepped up as our first contributor to funding the Feasibility Study, and to Teresa O’Neill and her colleagues, we are grateful for the vote of confidence. Our next key milestone is securing the balance of the funding for the Feasibility Study.  A likely key contributor is the City of Portland, and we must solicit the support of City Council as they review and approve their FY 2018/2019 Budget. Frog Ferry supporters will introduce the concept on Wednesday, April 11th. (Date is tentative at this point.) If you wish to attend, please let me know by March 15th and I will add you to our posse. We have five core presenters who comprise the Frog Ferry team:  Captain Anne McIntyre, Columbia and Willamette River Maritime Pilots’ Association, Matt Markstaller, Daimler (private sector advocate); John Sainsbury, HMS Consulting (a leading global passenger ferry expert); Andy Jansky, Flowing Solutions (the leading dock design-engineering firm in the region); and Art Parker, Vigor Passenger Ferry (VP of Business Development).  Our strategy posse includes Ginny Lang, Elisa Dozono, and Linda Weston. My heartfelt thanks to all of them.


  • Establishing the Frog Ferry: We are establishing The Frog Ferry as a “B-Corp.”  As a Benefit Company LLC, we announce our commitment to the triple bottom line:  People, Planet and Profit. By definition, we must provide “a material positive impact on society and the environment…”  I appreciate the pro bono support of Elisa Dozono and Doug Morris at Miller Nash who helped set us on this course, along with the invaluable insight from Ruth Miles of the Secretary of State Small Business Advocacy Office.  Their insights put us on a path to join Business for a Better Portland, aptly lead by Ashley Henry; transportation is one of four key issues BBP is focusing on to activate positive change. Our Frog Ferry website should be up by late March, and please note our new e-address.  (Thank you Heather Barta of Cuprum Creative.)


  • Vancouver: We’ve started our outreach to the Vancouver side of the equation, with sincere appreciation to Ron Arp, Identity Clark County.  We anticipate a tour of riverfront properties in mid-March so we can begin honing in on a potential dock and parking locations. If you have a property in mind we should visit during the Vancouver tour, please reach out to me and let me know.


What can you do?

  • Please submit your letter of support, which we will take to Portland City Council as well as other potential Feasibility Study Funders.  Letters should be addressed to: Susan Bladholm, The Frog Ferry, 4430 SW Selling Court; Portland, OR 97221. Thank you to the Port of Portland, Travel Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Daimler and others who have already submitted their letters. If you would like a template to edit for your letter of support, we are happy to provide one.
  • Attend the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, April 11th. RSVP by Weds. March 15th.
  • Provide insights for potential funding for the Feasibility Study.  The cost is $450,000 for FY 18/19 and $450,000 and an outline of deliverables is attached.  We are working on getting formal requests for funding to Portland City Council and ODOT.
  • If you have recommendations for contacts, please share their email addresses.


With appreciation for your spirit of cooperation and support,

Susan Bladholm

The Frog Ferry