Volunteer Spotlight

Get to know Captain Peter Wilcox

At Friends of Frog Ferry, we are fortunate to have many volunteers dedicate their professional expertise and personal passions to bringing a passenger ferry service to our region. This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features Captain Peter Wilcox, a licensed marine captain who has led our sustainability efforts. Read more to learn about his hopes for how Frog Ferry will inspire a renewed love of our rivers.

Why were you drawn to Friends of Frog Ferry?

Starting over 20 years ago, I tried hard to get an inner city passenger ferry system built, acquiring through RiversWest the four, former Crater Lake 49 passenger launches to help kickstart that system. While not succeeding, I did manage to get a useful feasibility study done.  Earlier in the ’90s, I dreamed up a 10-passenger demonstration ferry for four weekends over three summers, that generated some useful data for the City. Before that, for one week I operated a free bicycle/bicyclist ferry while the Hawthorne Bridge was closed for maintenance.  So, when I heard about Frog Ferry, I was ecstatic and offered to do anything I could to help make this “living poem” (as Walt Whitman referred to ferries) happen.

What role do you play on the team?

I am an active volunteer on the propulsion team, having advocated strongly for clean electric propulsion since the start, and however else I might be helpful. I am a licensed marine captain with decades of marine biofuel and biolubricant experience, and have owned and tested four electric outboard powered boats.

What are some of your personal interests and passions?

My wife and I sail our 13+ year old, petroleum-free wood motorsailer far north each year, working to decarbonize the Inside Passage archipelago. I like nothing better than doing this educational  and community building work. I also love to kayak and row boats that I have built on the Columbia where we live in a small floating home, as far as the Columbia river bar. Serving as president of Columbia Riverkeeper for four terms was also one of my most favorite clean water-related experiences.

Do you have a favorite ferry experience?

In 2017, my wife and I took a trip to Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark to research the three total electric and/or hydrogen propelled ferries operating at the time.  I learned a lot and we had a blast. I have started planning a follow up trip – possibly this October – that will add in several new electric and a couple of hydrogen ferries in Norway and Sweden, and expect to be able to check out and ride 15 or more green ferries this time.

What are your hopes for the future of a ferry service in our region?

For my earlier work on a Portland ferry system, we came up with the motto, “From a bridge city to a river city.”  I’d like to see everyone who can’t afford to have a boat come to know and love our two extraordinary rivers up close and personal.  And I’d like to see downtown thriving again, in no small part because of an all-electric Frog Ferry passenger ferry system that lightens our regional highway traffic and enlightens everyone riding on it.

Our Volunteers

Maritime Operations
Captain Brett Bybee, Columbia River Launch Service
Captain Anne McIntyre, Columbia & Willamette Pilot Assn
John Sainsbury, Maritime Consulting Partners
Andy Jansky, Flowing Solutions dock engineering-design
Michael Doctor, Lime Consulting
Dan Yates, Portland Spirit
Sorin Garber, SGA
Paul Brodeur, King County Ferry
Mike Bomar, Port of Vancouver
Willem Polak, former Potomac Riverboat
Willie Levenson, Human Access Project
Sean Whalen, City of Portland Harbormaster

Strategy/Public Affairs
Linda Weston, Rapporto
Ginny Lang, Government Affairs specialist
Shannon Carney, City of Portland
Michelle Giguere, Summit Strategies
Elisa Dozono
Nina Byrd, EXP Consulting
Andrew Hoan/Jon Isaac, PBA
Marcelino Alvarez, Fresh Agency
Issac Kort Meade, legal project management

Engineering
Kevin Bross, High Tech Engineer, Chair
Captain Peter Wilcox, Decarb the Passage
Matt Markstaller, Daimler
Art Parker, Vigor
Ralph Duncan, BMT
Luke Whittemore, PGE
Abraham Mooney, transit engineer for public agency
ECONorthwest: Mike Wilkerson
Tara Obrien, Jacobs for environmental counsel

Public Agency Partners
Metro: Malu Wilkinson and Commission
City of Portland: PBOT Art Pearce, Mauricio LeClerc, Travel Portland
Parks, BES, BPS, Fire and Rescue, Prosper Portland, Emergency Management
TriMet: Tom Mills
C-Tran: Shawn Donaghy
ODOT: Marsha Hoskins, Karyn Criswell & Cooper Brown
City of Vancouver: Chad Eiken
Multnomah County: Sheriff, Engineering/Bridges

Financial
Scott South, Stevens Water
Jim Mark, Melvin Mark
Dan Bower, Portland Streetcar
Stephen Brooks, Community Partnership Fund
Laurie Harquail, Grants
Andre Petett, Aptly Focused
Nick Burnett, Wayfarer Studios
Charlene Zidell, Zidell Properties

Community Affairs
James Paulson, Bikeshare & Worksystems, Chair
Sunrise PDX
Jennifer Vitello, Cathedral Park Neighborhood
Mike Vial, St. Johns Neighborhood
30+ Neighborhood leaders along the route
Anatta Blackmarr, Oak Grove
Alan Bates, transit leader
Linda Baker, transportation journalist
Ken Wilson, OMSI
Rich Fry, River Responsibility (clean up)
Rachel Launchbury, Lake Oswego coordination

Private Sector Providers
Phil Sollers, Kingfisher Writing
Ron Laster, Print Results
Doug Morris, Miller Nash Law
Maren Calvert, Horenstein Law
Denise Waldron, Viva Events
Emily Draper, Waterleaf Architects
Suhail Khan, Northrup Corporation
John Bladholm, Green Barn Events
John Horvick, DHM Research
Tim Ralston, MLR Ventures

Marketing/Communications
Allison Tivnon, Beaverton City Council, Co-chair
Sue Van Brocklin, Coates Kokes, Co-chair
Heather Barta, Cuprum Creative
Andy Fraser & Pete Metz, Sockeye
Martin Stoll & Ashlynn Lowes, Sparkloft Media
Thom Walters
Amy Snyder, Blue Meadow Marketing, Chair

Customer Experience
Heather Linn, Digital Touchpoints
Todd Kimball, ADA compliance
Bee Feuless, health care best practices
Brian Thompson, Bytemark ticket integration
Geoff Green, Sterling Wi-Fi Connectivity
Alex McPhee
TeriAnne Yamauchi
Dave Barcos