Volunteer Spotlight

Get to know Emily Draper, Architect with Waterleaf

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 Emily Draper, an architect with Waterleaf who has helped render the vision for our ferry interior. Read more to learn about her favorite ferry experiences and hopes for Frog Ferry.

Why were you drawn to Friends of Frog Ferry?

Back in 2019, my colleague Abigail Bokman at Waterleaf cornered me when she came across a newsletter for the Frog Ferry – I had not heard about the movement but the idea of a passenger ferry in Portland sounded both amazing and entirely overdue. As a grad student focused on urban architecture, more than a few of my design studio projects were development adjacent to hypothetical passenger ferry stops on the Willamette based on studies done in the 90’s. I created urban design schemes connecting transportation by water to other modes of transit and imagined the kind of development and public space that would be supported by it. I had experienced some great passenger ferries in Scandinavia and Canada and always kept the hope that Portland would have this form of transit as well. Abby and I met with Susan to see how we could help, and we came away with the impression that Susan Bladholm will be the one to finally pull this off!

Waterleaf Architecture does a lot of transit design and transit-oriented architecture –we call this sector of our design work “Livable Communities”. We are a B-corp firm, which means as a business we work towards a triple bottom line, where social, environmental, and financial impacts are all measures of our success. The Frog Ferry project was well aligned with these values, so we wanted to plug in and help move the project forward.


What role do you play on the team?

I created “visualizations” – 3d sketches and renderings that show what being on a Frog Ferry vessel would look and feel like, and what a pilot station at one of the proposed stops could look like. Basically, illustrating what a rider would experience.


What are some of your personal interests and passions?

Along with transit-related design, I’m currently very interested in alternative housing types like co-housing, and finding ways to get more affordable housing units in the city as a step to address the problems with homelessness in Portland. Most of my free time is spent rock climbing these days. My kids and I love to go to the coast, and camping – especially if there is a lake where we can paddle board. I also do a lot of DIY projects around my old house, and love to rehab old furniture that I find in free piles.


Do you have a favorite ferry experience (other than Frog Ferry)?

My favorite ferry experience hands down is the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki in 2001. Besides sailing through all the beautiful fjords at sundown, it had a disco!


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

First, reduced carbon emissions. I want to see fewer cars on the road, especially commuters traveling into Portland from Vancouver, and employees of OHSU coming in from the east side. Second, I want people in the city to be able to experience being on the river, it can be such a pleasurable and peaceful way to get from point A to point B. Portland is a river city, and we have surprisingly little access to it. I want that to change.

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

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

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

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