Alameda Sun: Ferry Facility Dedicated, September 22, 2016


Last Thursday, the Water Emergency Transportation Administration (WETA) broke ground at Alameda Point for its $49.5 million Ron Cowan Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility.

Many associate Cowan’s name with developing Bay Farm Island. However he also played a larger-than-life role in forming water-emergency response on San Francisco Bay as we know it today. WETA honored Cowan by naming the Alameda Point facility in his honor. Cowan’s role in influencing how the Bay Area uses its waterways to respond to emergencies had its roots in providing ferry service for the Harbor Bay Business Park, but it gelled on a day that many remember so well.

Cowan had an uncommon commute with a view that few of us enjoy. He flew his helicopter from Marin County to his Alameda office. On the way to and from work, he observed how crowded the freeways were and how free the waterways were. He was returning to his Alameda office in his helicopter after a meeting with UC Davis on Oct. 17, 1989, when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck.