A group of business leaders, educators, marine scientists, city officials and other agency leaders gathered to talk Thursday night about how Newport can work together, as a community, to make itself the center of ocean data gathering for the Pacific northwest and thereby dramatically improve its local economy by landing more higher paying scientific, engineering and high tech labor jobs. The group trying to make all that happen is called the Yaquina Bay Ocean Observing Initiative (YBOOI).
With the arrival of NOAA’s Pacific research fleet headquarters in Newport, marine science-based income now sits at roughly $65 million a year. But with the added growth of ocean observation research now beginning to emerge in the mix, largely through the efforts of the National Science Foundation, Newport’s marine science income could approach $100 million a year, that according to Marine Resource Economist Gil Sylvia. Other YBOOI officials said Newport residents should get behind this new era of ocean research that is expected to continue for another fifty years as humankind tries to better understand the world’s oceans and everything that lives in them, including climate change and its effects on sea temperatures and fishery habitats.
But to put Newport on a track to enjoy such widespread economic benefits, it will take cooperation and proper promotion among the major institutions in the area, including the Hatfield Marine Science Center and all of its research sub-agencies and institutions, NOAA, the city of Newport, the ports of Newport and Toledo as well as Oregon Coast Community College; even the Lincoln County School District. Educational, scientific and political alignments must be established and then maintained over time to ensure that the entire community is working together to harness the economic benefits of more detailed marine research looming on the near horizon.
Proper city and county land use policies will be needed to keep Newport’s waterfront areas dedicated to proper waterfront operations. A smart Lincoln County School system and a nimble Oregon Coast Community College must offer relevant courses to train budding ocean researchers, equipment design and maintenance workers, highly skilled construction tradesmen and many as yet unimagined new skills that will be required to feed the growing ocean observing industry. Again, all high paying jobs that will grow Newport’s economy.
The YBOOI group will hold a strategy session Friday that will begin developing a work plan aimed at mobilizing the community to capitalize on the emerging ocean observing industry. The workshop will involve a select group of government, civic, business, education and other vital community leaders. YBOOI member and Newport businessman John Lavrakas said they’ll focus on specific ways to move the community forward to harness the economic opportunities from ocean research off the west coast from Monterey, California north to Puget Sound.Share on Facebook