|Written by Vivian McInerny|
|Monday, May 02, 2011|
Deep beneath the water, crayfish skitter. Sturgeon lurk near the muddy bottom like prehistoric beasts stubbornly determined to avoid evolution.
“I had a house guest who caught a huge sturgeon off the deck,” says Jan Hansen. “When she caught that thing, she started screaming.”
Jan jumped into action and onto the back of a boat tied to the dock to help wrestle the three-foot-long fish onto the dock.
“They have spiky things along their backs,” she says.
Jan sold her Portland Heights home 12 years ago and made plans for an extended trip to Europe. A friend living on Sauvie Island urged her to check out floating homes on her return.
“He kept saying how great it was out there,” says Jan. “But I felt like it was too far out.”
Jan eventually tested the waters and was immediately hooked sure as a fish on a line. A self-described “water baby,” she loves to kayak, wakeboard and boat on the river. Her house was one of the originals dating back to the late 1800s and came with a checkered past. Originally, the structure had six separate entrances to six separate rooms, each with its own fireplace. One theory is that it was a floating boarding house.
“A floating bordello,” says Jan. “I was told that they used to haul them up to the mills for the workers.”
She’s rewired and remodeled the whole place, raised the ceiling, put in sheetrock and granite kitchen counters. The fir floorboards now gleam.