Two Newport Port Commissioners and staff will meet Monday for a reality check with federal officials over a big grant to support the completion of the long-awaited International Terminal. The project involves the city of Newport that may be in a position to provide urban renewal bonding as well as support from the Hall family which owns waterfront property just to the east. But none of it can happen unless the Port can keep the effort on target and on time.
Part of the target-and-time concerns involve a large “Tiger Grant” from the federal government that was issued some time back – so far back, in fact, that a deadline to have the grant funds spent is coming up very soon. The Port team will be asking federal officials on Monday to grant the Port an extension on the expenditure time line.
Commissioners are expected to tell the officials that the Port is getting a new Port Manager and that the last election put new commissioners on the Port Commission. In short, “it’s a new day” and they would like a bit of time to re-evaluate and re-assess a way forward on the completion of the International Terminal. They say they just need a short time to present a detailed picture of the Port’s financial situation and outline the role that all four potential Port partners will play toward a successful outcome – the Port, the fishing and shipping industries, the Hall family and the city of Newport. They’re just asking for a little bit of time to put it together.
Port officials say they already have the support of U.S. Congressman Kurt Schrader and Oregon legislators. Both Oregon U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley have also expressed support for the project.
So we’ll see what happens on Monday.