Dedication ceremony for new additions to the Portland District Fleet honors past leaders

Jeffrey Henon
Public Affairs Office

The survey vessels Graham and Hopman are the newest members of the Portland District's fleet. The District has worked for more than a century to keep Oregon's waterways navigable.

The survey vessels Graham and Hopman are the newest members of the Portland District’s fleet. The District has worked for more than a century to keep Oregon’s waterways navigable.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, dedicated the survey boats Graham and Hopman in a ceremony at Chinook Boat Landing in Fairview, Oregon, Aug. 22, 2016. The honorees’ family and friends wer

e on hand to witness the dedication.

Col. Jose Aguilar, the Corps’ Portland District commander, hosted the ceremony. Distinguished guests included the Rev. Tim Murphy, president emeritus, Central Catholic High School; Col. Torrey DiCiro, deputy commander, Northwestern Division, Marlene Hopman, wife of Robert Hopman, and her family; Jackson Graham Jr., son of Jackson Graham, and Dixie Johnston, daughter of Jackson Graham, and their families.

Both boats were built in Roseburg by North River Boats. The Graham, based in Coos Bay, is 27 feet long and surveys small harbors and channels on the Oregon Coast, from Tillamook to Gold Beach. It is named in honor of Jackson Graham, Portland District commander from 1955 to 1958. Born in Mosier, Oregon, Graham graduated from Oregon State University in 1936. After retiring from the Corps with 31 years of service he went on to lead the design and construction of the Washington D.C. Metro transit system from 1967 to 1976. Dixie Johnston had the honor of christening the Graham.

Three generations of the Graham family attended the dedication of the Survey Vessel Graham.

Three generations of the Graham family attended the dedication of the Survey Vessel Graham.

Three generations of the Hopman family attended the dedication of the Survey Vessel Hopman.

Three generations of the Hopman family attended the dedication of the Survey Vessel Hopman.

The Hopman, based at the U.S. Moorings in Portland, is 25 feet long and surveys areas along the Columbia and lower Willamette rivers. It is named in honor of Robert Hopman, who played a major role in developing Portland District’s dredge fleet. Hopman graduated from Portland’s Central Catholic High School in 1956 and earned his master’s degree in public administration from Lewis and Clark College. After 30 years of service with the Corps, Hopman retired in 1997 from Philadelphia District and returned to the Pacific Northwest. Marlene Hopman had the honor of christening the Hopman.

The christening and dedication ceremony for newly constructed sea-going vessels dates back centuries. While the christening ceremony varies in different cultures, its purpose is the same: to ask divine protection for the vessel and her crew while navigating the powerful and unpredictable ocean waters.
The Portland District has worked for more than a century to keep Oregon’s waterways navigable. Corps survey vessels are essential tools in accomplishing that mission.

Portland District survey boats travel from Cape Disappointment on the southern Washington coast, to the Chetco River on the southern Oregon coast and east from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River to McNary Dam, providing vital data to the dredge crews who maintain the state’s water channels.