An email from the Governor’s Office states that the green light has been given to proceed with more dredging in Yaquina Bay, alongside the newly rebuilt International Terminal so the port can accommodate large log ships. Log exporter Teevin Brothers had indicated that half loads, due to a shallow draft beside the terminal, was not satisfactory. They want to load ships to capacity, which of course makes them sink deeper into the water and therefore need enough depth beside the terminal.
The Department of State Lands issued the dredging permit today (Friday) which will allow their current shipping channel dredging to spill over into a two or three day dredging operation alongside the International Terminal.
The news was well received by the port which was hoping the terminal dredging would be approved under the dredger’s current work schedule. Now that permission has been granted to extend the ship channel project to include the terminal dredging, the spoils brought up from the bay bottom can be more economically disposed of off the coast. Otherwise, they would have to be deposited at some site on land at a cost of $200,000 if dredging was held off until November 1st. All in water works between November 1st and February 15th requires dredge spoils be deposited on land.
Port Manager Kevin Greenwood said he’s heartened by the decision and gives great thanks to the Department of State Lands for seeing their way clear through a very complicated array of information – both environmental as well as economic.
Greenwood said he expects the dredging to begin in late September. He cautioned, however, that if simply removing river bottom silt does not provide the required minimum 35 foot depth, further dredging would be required, which would begin sometime in early November.
So the issue is still unfolding.
Teevin Brothers had intended to build a $4 million dollar log handling yard in conduction with the terminal this year but balked at starting the project pending state permission to dredge deeper alongside the terminal. Now that permission has been given and the permit issued, Teevin is now free to begin building their log handling facility.
Another log exporting firm, Alcan Timber, has indicated they too would like to use the International Terminal to ship logs overseas. But possibly due to a slowdown in log exports to Asia, they have not indicated to the port when they might want to start using terminal facilities.
In 2006, Newport area voters approved a nearly $16 Million bond, backed by property taxes, to fund the restoration of the International Terminal to enable it to, once again, handle ship traffic in and out of Newport.