The Port of Newport’s new administration building, complete with a REAL port commissioners meeting room, is expected to be built and ready for occupancy in about two years.
The facility will be located at the end of NE 5th in Newport, on port property abutting Bay Boulevard. The cost is estimated right around a cool million – all of it coming from left over cash from the NOAA headquarters facility on the other side of the bay.
For decades port employees have operated out of one form of manufactured housing or another with all of the cramptness and draftiness that goes with it. Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says in addition to having more space, the space will be more smartly organized to improve work flow for individual as well as staff joint-work areas. Greenwood says port business will get done more effectively, in less time and in a more pleasant environment which port workers will no doubt appreciate. It will also make port headquarters more inviting for the public. The new building will also provide a more professional environment for port commission meetings complete with overhead projection and, eventually, devices to record commission meetings so folks at home can watch either live or by recorded playback via the internet.
A suggestion by one homeowner just uphill from the new buildings site asked that the building be positioned parallel to Bay Boulevard, rather than perpendicular. A discussion ensued with the end consensus pointing to keeping the building perpendicular which produces the least amount of visual impact for the greater number of homes.
Greenwood also says the port will be doing more dredging this fall alongside the newly renovated International Terminal – taking out silt stone next to the terminal, making it deeper, so log ships can head for the orient with full loads. Rip rap will also have to be added to stabilize the bottom. He says Teevin Brothers is expected to begin building their four million dollar log handling yard shortly after the first of the year with log shipments commencing in mid-to-late summer.
On another front, Greenwood says the port will be installing a big culvert across the bay from the terminal, just east of the Oregon Coast Aquarium to allow tidal flows to fill in a rather shallow wetlands to expand and make them deeper. The $900,000 project is part of the mitigation for the original NOAA project which took out a lot of aquatic habitat. The law says if you take out productive habitat in one area, you have to make it up in another. So that’s what the port is doing.
The port is also having to go back and improve the function of one mitigation area the port thought it had completed. It was the planting of Eel Grass near the NOAA facility itself. Unfortunately tidal movement of bottom sand was something the port hadn’t anticipated and the Eel Grass didn’t take. Greenwood says the port will have to go back in and recontour and refortify the bottom and then plant more Eel Grass. Eel Grass is prime habitat for juvenile salmon that are waiting to head out to sea as part of their life cycle.