A rather large crowd packed the room at the Port of Newport meeting last evening as Shawn Teevin, of Teevin Brothers based in Rainier, laid out a plan for jump starting the use of the soon to be completed International Terminal at the east end of Bay Boulevard. Estimates are that log export operations could begin in the first quarter of next year, adding over 25 family wage jobs to the local employment rolls. Even more when ships are being loaded and unloaded.
Port officials said they were gratified by the largely supportive crowd who focused on job creation in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years. There will be heavy truck traffic on the Bay Road from John Moore Road for the short jaunt to the east and down to the International terminal. Truck hours of operation would run five days a week from 6am to 4pm with a maximum frequency of around 6 trucks an hour.
There are concerns that bike lanes have been added to the Bay Road since shipping operations ended years ago posing potential conflicts between heavy trucks and pedestrians, runners and sightseers. It was suggested that the Bay Road should be widened from John Moore to the east, to the International Terminal entrance. However, whether the port or the city of Newport would pay part or all of the costs was not established. Port Commission Chair JoAnn Barton says the port doesn’t have the money for it so they’re asking the city of Newport to foot the bill or find some alternative method of financing it.
However, City Public Works Director Tim Gross said that after meeting with port officials and Teevin Brothers, widening the Bay Road from the Embarcadero shouldn’t be necessary. He said a logging truck every ten minutes on a road designed for industrial traffic is not a major problem. He said that based on the port’s plans for importing recycled paper and cardboard and having trucks transporting it to the GP plant in Toledo to turn it into new paper and cardboard, there will be some increased truck traffic the full length of the Bay Road.
However, Gross said that sometime after the port’s logging operations begin the city will have to address the problem of the geometry of the John Moore Road/Bay Boulevard intersection. He says there is a large storm water problem that needs to be fixed at that intersection. He says they’ll have to tear up the intersection, but that traffic will still be able to get through. He said once the storm drain is fixed and the minor re-alignment of the intersection is complete, then the intersection will be easier for the trucks (and everyone else) to navigate. However, funding for the fix will be up to the city council since it involves a storm drain for which, at the moment, no such funding source exists.
The Port of Newport recently finished gathering together the final financing to complete the International Terminal and now anticipate more than just log exports as its mainstay. Domestic cruise ships, other foreign exports and industrial development are envisioned for the property greatly adding to the local employment base of above average wage jobs.