Thanks to JoeSixpack (who posted a comment below on our list of shipwatching sites)for another good shipwatching spot,the Safeway parking lot in Astoria. It's right next to the wonderful Riverwalk too, and has a great view of the anchorage area east of downtown. The anchorage is a dredged out portion of the river north of the shipping channel that's always kept deep enough to anchor ships. You can see the area outlined on the nautical chart for this area. They have paper charts at Englund Marine for about $20.
Will answer your questions about the current. etc. Friday on the Ship Report and then post it on the blog. I think some of it has to do with the fact that the most recent storm coincided with Spring Tides, or higher than normal tides. That has to do with the moon. But there may be more to it here locally. I'll find out.
If anyone else knows of any good shipwatching spots or any other nautical info you'd like to share with the Ship Report, post a comment on the blog or email email@example.com. I'll be happy to share it with our Ship Report community!