The Toledo Port Commission continues to think outside the box. Thursday evening it kept moving ahead to lease out more than half of Port Station One to Fishpeople, a gourmet fish company that has expressed a very strong interest in establishing a fish processing facility there. Although a final contract has yet to be signed between Fishpeople and the port, Port Manager Bud Shoemake seems confident they’ll have one very soon.
Shoemake predicts that when up-and-running by mid-July, Fishpeople will have installed hundreds of thousands of dollars of high tech fish processing equipment in an air tight and temperature controlled interior, on their side of the building.
Shoemake says Fishpeople is a very green company, which prides itself in maintaining a sustainable fishery for tuna and other seafood they process and prepare for its frozen gourmet dinners. Their prepackaged meals are sold in some 2,000 stores up and down the U.S. west coast including Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons.
Shoemake predicted that Fishpeople will hire up to 14 workers this summer, all of them family wage jobs. The company has to maintain that level or higher to remain qualified for a $250,000 state incentive, funneled through the port.
Shoemake says over ten million pounds of tuna are landed on Oregon docks every year – about half of that in Newport. When Fishpeople opens their new fish facility in Toledo, a large portion of that tuna will no longer head north to Washington State for processing, it’ll head for Toledo. But before it does, the tuna will be de-headed and pre-bled before it leaves Newport. Shoemake promised there will be no outside storage of fish or fish waste including any equipment that comes in contact with fish. Shoemake reiterated that the processing area is air tight with highly filtered air coming in and highly filtered air going out. The neighbors won’t hardly know is there. All truck deliveries will be at the back of the building. And with Fishpeople being just on the other side of the wall from the port offices, Shoemake said you can be sure everything will be run ship-shape.
Shoemake says Fishpeople is a fast growing company and will require expanding facilities. He said he hopes the port can accommodate them and keep them in Toledo, adding even more jobs to the town’s economic base.
Shoemake says the Port Commission will meet next week in anticipation of signing the deal with Fishpeople. The moment the contract is signed, work will begin on a very fast schedule to renovate the south side of the building. Shoemake said even though it may not look like it at the moment, there will be enough parking. The Toledo Planning Commission gave the project the green light earlier this month. And because no citizen or interest group appealed the decision, it’s a go.
On another economic front, Port Manager Bud Shoemake says he feels confident that Toledo will also soon be embarking on yet another major jobs-creating journey by expanding the port’s boat yard at Sturgeon Bend. Shoemake said preliminary meetings between regional governmental officials appears to be producing some very good news for the port’s request for over four million dollars to buy a large boat lift – one that can haul out commercial fishing boats weighing up to 550 tons. He says that covers about 98% of the north Pacific fishing fleet – a band of boats that need constant maintenance and renovating.
Shoemake says the decision will likely come on June 11th or 12th as to whether the port gets the funds from the state to buy the lift. If it does, it will add 47 family wage jobs to the port’s workforce, both in-house and contract, as well as around 100 more around Toledo as well as downriver in connection with other boatyard operations. Shoemake said that creating a highly successful boat yard in Toledo has been his life-long dream – and now there’s a good chance that it will finally come true.
From the sound of things, it could very well become Christmas in June for Mr. Shoemake and the city of Toledo.Share on Facebook
Oregon and California partner-up to give orphan sea otters new homes!
Two new sea otters arrived this week in Oregon in ice-filled crates as their transport plane touched down first at Newport Municipal Airport to drop off “Oswald,” then onto Portland to drop off “Juno.” Oswald and Juno, two sea otter pups bound for their new homes at Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Oregon Zoo, debarked from the plane with a mammalogist and veterinarian in tow that cared for them during their journey from the Monterey Bay Aquarium south of San Francisco to their new homes in the Beaver State.
Oswald and Juno were each discovered abandoned on beaches along California’s coastline. Oswald was discovrered stranded in November of 2013 and Juno two months later in January 2014. Staff with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program arranged for the rescue of the pups and their transport to Monterey. Sea otter program staff immediately began searching for homes for the two, realizing there were no experienced otters available to rear the pups for release back into the wild. Once homes were found for the young animals they were both deemed non-releasable by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) which made them “adoptable” by qualified institutions.
Once the pups were ready, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Oregon Zoo teamed up to transport the sea otter pups to the Oregon. The Oregon Coast Aquarium arranged for a flight for both animals on a private plane owned and piloted by Steve Schuster, a Newport local that has a history of helping the Oregon Coast Aquarium transport sea otters. In 2012, the Oregon Coast Aquarium honored his generosity when they named another sea otter that came to Newport from Monterey “Schuster.”
“We all work for the common good to place these animals that would not be able to survive in the wild. Monterey Bay Aquarium rescues and rehabilitates these otters daily, and if release is not an option, organizations like the Oregon Zoo and Oregon Coast Aquarium take these animals and care for them for the rest of their lives,” said Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals for the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Oswald and Juno are busy settling into their new homes behind the scenes. Once they each complete their respective quarantine periods, they will meet the other otters before making their public debuts this summer.
In Portland, “Juno arrived Tuesday night and immediately began exploring,” said Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey, the zoo’s senior marine life keeper. “Within 30 minutes, she was already grooming herself and eating, which is a great sign. She tried capelin for the first time and seemed to enjoy it. She’s active, playful, curious — I can tell she’s going to be a lot of fun.” Eventually, the zoo plans to introduce the youngster to the zoo’s two older sea otters, Thelma and Eddie — both of whom were also rescued in California as pups and deemed non-releasable. “It should be rejuvenating for our older otters to meet this active youngster,” Nicassio-Hiskey said. “We expect Juno will really keep them on their toes.”
Oswald, then known as otter 649, earned notoriety for his juvenile antics as the sixth sea otter ever reared on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. His companion, Gidget, taught him how to groom his coat, swim and dive. Oswald taught his companion the intensive art of caring for a sea otter pup. In time, Gidget will apply the teaching skills she learned with Oswald to show other stranded pups how to survive on their own before they are returned to the wild.
Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Erin Paxton said it’ll be a number of weeks before Oswald joins the rest of the OCA sea otter family and be ready for public viewing.Share on Facebook
Depoe Bay Fire Rescue is on scene at the J’s Kandy Corn Shop at 108 NW 101 on a report of a fire within an interior wall. Watch for emergency responders. More are enroute from Newport to provide mutual aid.
Firefighters have been joined by a state fire marshal’s office investigator to figure out what caused the fire that appeared to start inside a wall. Firefighters say there was considerable damage to the facility. The building will be out of commission for a while according one assessment. Firefighters chased the fire inside the wall and up into the ceiling.
What is shaping up to be an ocean version of the Showdown at the OK Corral, Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson told the public today that next Tuesday night will be a true test of whether federal regulators are willing to realistically work with Oregon’s fishing industry in properly planning federal waters off the central coast. The issue is wind and wave energy of course, and Thompson said that some regulators seem willing to proceed without adequate information as to where those energy devices should be located, or more importantly, where they shouldn’t be located. Otherwise it’s a threat to the Oregon Coast’s number one industry and job creating business – commercial fishing.
Thompson reminded his fellow commissioners Wednesday that federal officials recently conducted what turned out to be very poorly attended fact-finding hearings as to where valuable fishing grounds are located – that regulators would presumably avoid in placing energy devices. Thompson said the meetings were totally inadequate and that an offer to supplement them with internet webinars was unacceptable. Thompson said the local fishing community and others deserve the opportunity to look federal officials straight in the eye and tell them that they don’t support the way things have been going and that a better process is needed.
Thompson said after contacting Oregon’s U.S. Congressional delegation, enlisting the support of Oregon’s Coastal Caucus of state lawmakers, and the support of other agencies and fishermen’s groups, federal regulators have agreed to a face-to-face and frank discussion about the way federal planners have gone about determining how to divide up the federal waters off Oregon for wave and wind energy projects.
Thompson said what appears to be the situation off Oregon and Washington is an instant replay of what happened on the east coast when similar plans were launched by federal authorities. Thompson said if the federal government wants to be clear and transparent about the process, they must respect and listen closely to coastal fishermen and coastal Oregonians, if they’re to avoid expensive and time-delaying lawsuits.
The “energy summit” is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20th, in Newport at the Central Lincoln Peoples Utility District meeting room, across Highway 101 from Safeway. What is hoped to launch a more realistic meeting of the minds begins at 6:30pm.Share on Facebook