The Port of Newport got a whale of a Christmas gift this week – just before Halloween. Two million dollars from the federal government – an infrastructure investment (TIGER) grant – which is about one-third of what is needed to prepare the International Terminal for full import and export operations.
Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says the award is a big deal, because only 2% of grant applicants from around the country get any money from this particular fund. He said the port benefitted greatly by the support from Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congressman Schrader. He says the 30% financial boost toward the $6.5 million dollar price tag for all improvements at McLean Point/International Terminal means it will likely make further state and federal grants much easier to acquire. Greenwood says the Tiger grant will not be delivered until 2017 so they’ve got time to use it as “proof” to other granting agencies that the terminal project is a winner waiting to happen. He says he’s optimistic the port can raise the other $4.5 million. But it’s going to take some work, to be sure.
When all is said and done, Greenwood says the improvements to McLean Point and the Terminal will produce vigorous import and export operations – providing Mid-Willamette Valley agriculture as well as timber and lumber products companies barge access to ports in Oakland and Tacoma (since Terminal 6 in Portland has been shut down) as well as providing another import facility on the west coast.
McLean/Terminal improvements include a ten acre “lay down area” for materials waiting to be loaded aboard freighters, sewer, water and storm drain systems, access improvements from the Bay Road, wetlands mitigation and fencing, among others.