Old boat, new business top Port agenda
Commissioners from the Port of Newport approved the removal of a dilapidated fishing vessel, welcomed a new tenant to South Beach, and gave the nod to several Port improvements at Tuesday’s monthly meeting.
Abandoned or derelict vessels are a costly challenge for the Port, as demonstrated by the decision to remove and dispose of the F/V Sylvia. The 52-foot commercial vessel that became Port property when the previous owner failed to maintain it or pay for moorage is no longer seaworthy and has nearly sunk on several occasions. “We can keep postponing, but eventually this will sink there and cost us way more money,” explained General Manager Paula Miranda. “Besides, it is taking precious moorage space that somebody else could use.”
At the meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a $23,000 contract with the Port of Toledo for the removal and disposal of the F/V Sylvia. The removal of derelict vessels from both the recreational and commercial marina is an on-going challenge for the Port and other marina facilities around the state. While some funding is in place to assist with the cost of removal for recreational boats, the expense for removing a commercial vessel falls solely on the Port.
Port Commissioners also approved a one-year lease agreement with a new tenant for one of the buildings locally known as “the old cherry plant” on the Port’s South Beach property. Newport Fab Shop was established in 2021 and works on boats, as well as other projects requiring fabrication. In a report to the commission, Director of Operations Aaron Bretz indicated that welcoming this new tenant is good for both the business and the Port. “We plan to continue investing money into these buildings to keep the habitable structures in rentable condition and having a tenant in place provides us with a revenue stream to fund that work,” he explained.
Across the harbor, two expenditures were given the go-ahead at the commercial marina. Preliminary work to resurface the parking lot around Port Dock 7 will happen in the coming weeks. The project will not only address sizeable potholes but lay the foundation for asphalt paving to occur after the construction of the new administration building is completed. The purchase of a new forklift for the marina was also approved.
Commissioners had a brief discussion about a proposed offshore wind development off of Coos Bay after a Port committee asked commissioners to take up the issue. In a letter to the commission, the Commercial Fishing Users Group (CFUG) said the proposed development involves 2,100 square miles of ocean off Southern Oregon, adding that “millions of pounds of fish have been harvested out of that area and subsequently delivered into Newport, supporting thousands of jobs.”
Port Commissioners scheduled a work session on May 17 to gather more information on the issue from stakeholders and discuss the various options before the Port will take any action on the committee request.
Angela Nebel, Summit Public Relations Strategies LLC