Alien Cement Boat: FINALLY!

Years ago I clipped an article out of the Freshwater News, a local Portland boating newspaper, about an alien cement boat that had washed ashore on Sauvie Island, just a short drive west of Portland. I was immediately hooked, but tucked the article away for some day.

That day came on Friday when Howard and I decided to go for a hike and locate the alien craft. For those who are fans of Atlas Obscura (it is what we use as our guide when we travel), you can find the UFO boat listed under Unusual Things to Do in Portland, No. 24. We did some additional research about where the boat was located, and surprisingly, it wasn’t difficult to find at all.

In a nutshell, head to Sauvie Island, take Reeder Road to Collin’s Beach (clothes optional, so if you go in the summer, don’t be surprised if you don’t see clothed people), and park at entrance 3 (entrances are marked). There is plenty of parking, but you will need a $10 day pass to park. Head toward the river and turn right.


We had only walked a short distance, when Howard said, “I see it.” I hyperventilated and ran toward it, overcome with emotion and pure joy.

You get the idea.

The tri-hull concrete boat is made of ferro cement and created by Richard Ensign (an engineer in Hubbard, Oregon) in the early 1970s. The craft could hold 12 people and had a homemade wood stove on board, along with a generator to provide power. The maiden voyage took place in 1973. The last time the boat was registered with the Oregon Marine Board was 1978. When the 1996 floods occurred, the boat slipped out of its moorage and ended up on a beach at Sauvie Island, hidden by trees. This sign sharing some of the history is posted by a tree next to the orb.

It’s possible to go into the boat, but it isn’t easy and I wasn’t able to maneuver one of the three ways of entry: A hanging rope with knots, a couple of unstable logs leaned up against the back, or just flat out climbing up onto the vessel by holding and twisting; Howard chose option 3. (If you really want to enter, bring a tall ladder! I wish I had.)

I handed my camera to Howard and he took the inside photos.

Howard had such fun scrambling around inside and out, I was definitely jealous.

We didn’t rush our visit and no one was around, so we had it to ourselves (although I doubt there is a huge rush at any time!).

It was finally time to go. I gave her a final hug . . . .

. . . and decided to share my discovery with my friends so they could experience the thrill of seeing such an unusual object in the wild!


PS A guy arrived at the beach just as we were leaving. He was wearing a pretty sweet pair of sparkly see through red shorts, and it looked like he was preparing to go for a swim. We said hello and headed out for our hike to the Warrior Head Lighthouse.


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