Newport Port Commissioners are now able to predict even more log exporting even before operations begin later this year. Alcan Forest Products is also aiming to start stacking their logs at the International Terminal later this year by moving ahead with establishing a log yard and de-barking operation on Siletz Tribal land just south of Toledo.
Newport Port Manager Kevin Greenwood reported to the port commission that both Alcan and Teevin Brothers intend to start log exports later this year – Teevin building a very large log yard just off the main terminal area. Alcan will bring its own logs to the terminal but closely coordinating operations with Teevin Brothers. Greenwood told the commission that Alcan is working closely with county planners to get the proper land use designation for properties it’s using near Toledo. Alcan will have logs, freshly cut from the woods, dropped off at their temporary storage and debarking facility just south of Toledo Then they will be reloaded on trucks for delivery to the International Terminal in Newport.
But there remains the sticky issue of not being able to fill up the log transport ships anymore than half full. In order to fully load them, the bay bottom next to the terminal docks will have to be dredged another eight or nine feet to accommodate those ships sinking deeper in the water due to their heavier loads. So until the bay can be dredged down another eight or so feet, Teevin and Alcan will have to be satisfied with filling up the huge “Handymen” logging ships only half way.
But it gets a little more complicated.
The port is working through the process to get permission to dredge those eight additional feet. State and federal agencies require that the port make up for the environmental damage to the bay bottom the dredging will cause. And to compensate for that damage they want the port to environmentally improve another part of the bay – to enrich its ecological health and thereby produce more fish and other aquatic life.
Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says the port has targeted an area on the bay, on the backside of the Hatfield Marine Science Center for such mitigation. It’s the entrance to a slough that floods westerly to the southern end of Chestnut Street, backing up against the CLPUD substation and work yard. As it is, that slough does not get the full periodic flooding necessary to optimize it’s aquatic and biological productivity. It’s hoped that if the port replaces a related undersized culvert, that slough would get better water circulation, making it more productive – certainly enough to offset the loss of bay bottom habitat along side the International Terminal.
Greenwood says their proposal is being reviewed by state and federal agencies. He said he hopes to get the mitigation permit approved within a few months. Once in hand the dredging can proceed this coming November. The delay of having to wait until November to dredge is to comply with state law that no “in water” works be done between mid-February to November first so as to not interfere with fish migrations and spawning in Oregon’s coastal rivers and streams. So until the dredging is done sometime in November, the log ships will be limited to half-loads as they leave Newport. After leaving Newport those ships will make quick stops in Coos Bay, Astoria or Longview to get filled up the rest of the way and then head for the Far East.
The port commission also got an update on Rogue Brewery’s plans to build a 10,000 square foot addition to its Rogue Distillery operations. A Rogue spokesman told the commission that Rogues spirits sales have grown 25 fold since it began operations at South Beach in 2006. Rogue is distilling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep up with demand. They say craft spirits is a rapidly growing category similar to what craft beer became 15 to 20 years ago.
The new expansion involves another larger still, more barrel storage, expanded space for bottling and packaging, dry and finished goods and a Rogue cooperage facility. Rogue will become the only brewer or distiller in the country that builds oak barrels from stave to finished barrels in addition to being the only brewer or distiller in the country with its own cooperage.
Rogue says the expansion will add up to four well paying jobs with full medical benefits, beer cards, pre-paid legal services, gym membership reimbursement along with bonus and employee stock options. They say the expansion will have one large south-facing wall which will be adorned with a large mural that will soften the look of the building and be appropriately adapted to the area.
The port and Rogue Brewery are working out the land lease arrangements to ensure the project moves forward quickly because Rogue made it clear it’s anxious to get going.
And lastly, Port Finance Director Pat Albaugh reported that they are in the middle of upgrading internet wifi service throughout port properties on both sides of the bay. When the upgrades are complete, there will be a two tiered and widely expanded wifi coverage area so anyone within the South Beach Marina area will get a good strong wifi signal – same for over at Port Dock 7 and 5 on the other side of the bay. It’s expected that a small part of the service will be free and open to the public with no password required. The rest will be reserved for port and marina clients and customers who will be issued passwords to ensure fast wifi service when they get on the system.
Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says it has become very apparent that a major draw of any recreation facility like a marina is that it have strong, widely distributed and fast wifi service. Cost to rebuild the system is estimated to be $11,000 and is being built by a local electronics firm.