Rogue and Port of Newport officials met this week to continue working out details of Rogue’s plans to expand their facility at South Beach – just east of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
The project will expand Rogue’s building footprint about 40,000 square feet and will fill in the area of the old boat ramp nearby that’s been closed for years. Yet to be worked out is the traffic circulation patterns that will result in the reconfiguration of Rogue’s operations as well as creating more parking. Cost of expanded parking and who will pay for it is still a bit up in the air. However, Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says he’s optimistic those details will be worked out amicably. Rogue wants to get all it’s permits in a row and ready for the construction season which begins in late March of next year.
One aspect that should please those who promote and conduct the annual Seafood & Wine Festival, is that they are welcome to use some of Rogue’s new building for part of the event instead of relying exclusively on those big white tents that seem to be blown up and damaged by high winds nearly every year. The Newport Chamber of Commerce favors it obviously, and Rogue says they’d love to have all those people seeing Rogue up front and personal even if they don’t make wine. And the Newport Port Commission favors the project because it means more lease income for the port. Those dollars will come in handy because the income they had counted on from the recently revamped International Terminal hasn’t materialized largely due to the collapse of Chinese demand for raw log exports.
Meanwhile, alternative income sources are being explored by marketing the International Terminal to Willamette Valley farmers who had been shipping their produce and other products overseas using the Port of Portland. Teevin Brothers are again interested in providing that service and are working closely with the port on making the terminal ready with a big “lay down” area where products are placed out in the open so that ships, equipped with their own cranes, can quickly load up and then head out. There are also plans to acquire cranes permanently stationed on the terminal to load more conventional freighters.
Additionally, Newport’s Urban Renewal Agency seems poised to help the port finance storm drain facilities that have yet to be constructed on the terminal and which may be extended to the Hall property for further development of their property. By helping to finance those infrastructure improvements it could put parts of the International Terminal back on the tax rolls as well as improving the value, for tax purposes, on the Hall property because, word has it, they have some development ideas for McLean Point.