Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Nothing stops Todd Logan from sharing outdoors

Greg Goodell, left, helps fishing guide Todd Logan prepare for a day on the water with client Jed Morgan on the Rogue River. (Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch / Jamie Lusch Medford Mail Tribune)
By Mark Freeman Mail-Tribune

SHADY COVE, Oregon – The transom of his driftboat folds down like a drawbridge, and with one real leg and one fake one, fishing guide Todd Logan slowly steers double-amputee Jed Morgan’s wheelchair into the boat anchored at an upper Rogue River ramp.

Morgan snaps his chair into place and in a few short minutes, Logan plants his prosthetic right leg onto the boat’s foot peg, pulls back on the oars, and down the Rogue River they go in search of salmon just like any other angler and fishing guide this day.

It’s Morgan’s first time in a driftboat. But for Logan, this is the maiden voyage of a wheelchair-accessible, salmon-fishing crusade likely never before seen in the Pacific Northwest.

One amputee helping other amputees to fish, and, at least briefly, to forget.

“I know for the split second when I make a cast, there’s a moment when I don’t remember I don’t have a leg,” Logan said. “It’s a split second of relief from how much it affects you.”

Logan was traveling the Northwest later this summer offering wheelchair-bound people free salmon and steelhead fishing trips on whitewater rivers.

With his specially designed Willie Boats boat and partner Greg Goodell riding shotgun, this longtime outdoorsman is hell-bent on giving wounded veterans and other amputees the chance to smell river rapids and feel the tug of a salmon while continuing his personal march toward independence.

The boat is modified so two wheelchairs can sit side-by-side so their owners can fish and enjoy a river that before might have been only a memory.

“I still have a lot to offer, and this is what I know,” Logan said.

“It’s all about getting people in the outdoors, where they couldn’t or wouldn’t because of their disability,” Logan said. “And it’s with me on the oars. One of them.”

“Couldn’t” and “wouldn’t” have not been regular members of Logan’s lexicon, despite a life of pain, triumphs, setbacks and conquests.

He was born with a rare form of congenital bone fusion, turning his feet into “one big block of bone” with no give in them. Though he never gave into them, they took a pounding during regular pursuits in the woods and waters of Oregon and, eventually Idaho.

“I step wrong, my feet break,” Logan, 43, said. “And every time they fixed me, they put me in a wheelchair.”

The left foot broke eight times. The ninth and last break to his right foot is in itself a vivid snapshot in his collage.

On Nov. 14, 2014, Logan was on an elk hunt with family and friends near Siletz, and he spotted a spike bull. Logan gave chase and the right foot gave out. He still lumbered more than 100 yards through the woods, “and I got my elk,” he said.

“And in a way, the elk got me.”

All those past screws and bone grafts had taken their toll. Doctors at St. Charles in Bend said amputation right below the knee was necessary.

Logan was intent that chunk of metal inside his tennis shoe would not define him, even after doctors said he likely would need his left leg amputated within two years.

“I wasn’t going to let it rob me of everything I knew and loved, so I fought it,” he said. “I’d rather have two good years than 20 mediocre ones.”