Newport: Teevin Brothers “punt” their construction plans for the International Terminal into next year
Port of Newport General Manager Don Mann says that while he and Teevin Brothers remain confident that their log export operation will move ahead, it will be next year before that movement takes place.
Mann said that although the Newport City Council and its planning commission appears to have dotted all their I’s and crossed all the T’s, Teevin wants to make doubly sure that any multi-million dollar commitment they make to the International Terminal project, is securely invested. And that cannot be said with 1000% certainty until the project makes its way up the state land use appeals system, and possibly up to the State Supreme Court, depending on how far project opponents want to take it. Those reviews, he said, can take months. But he added, “The project is going to happen. I’m very optimistic.”
Had there been no challenge to the log yard, Teevin would have been loading logs onto one ship a month at the terminal in the latter half of this year. It would be earning the port over a million dollars a year in revenue aimed at paying off 16 million dollars in loans and taxpayer-backed bonds that funded the International Terminal’s pollution cleanup, overhaul and reconstruction.
However, neighbors along Moore and the Bay Road filed an appeal against the project with the State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). Filings from both sides are enroute to Salem for LUBA’s review and decision. If either side doesn’t like LUBA’s ruling, they can ask the State Court of Appeals to review it and rule on it, and if either side cannot agree there, it could wind up in front of the Oregon Supreme Court. Only a tiny fraction of challenged land use decisions get that far.
Neighbors complain that 50 log trucks a day motoring up and down Moore and Bay Roads would be too noisy and would pose a safety hazard for motorists, pedestrians and children. They acknowledge that logging trucks used to drive on Moore and Bay Roads quite a lot in the past. But since then logging exports have ceased and many residences have sprung up on both sides of the road. Neighbors contend that such a heavy industrial use of the road, even if it was built for big trucks, would be disruptive and a threat to their neighborhood. They also contend de-barking machinery used to prepare logs for shipment will pose an additional noise nuisance.
Port Manager Don Mann said the International Terminal will involve heavy trucks no matter what the economic activity turns out to be. He said large seafood processor trucks on the Bayfront already use Moore and Bay Roads routinely to get their shipments up to Highway 20 to Portland and Eugene.
Mann says Teevin needs a couple of months of dirt moving, filling and paving to create their log yard at the east end of the terminal. He said he expects all the legal challenges to fail thereby allowing Teevin to proceed as planned early next year with their log yard, and to begin loading their first ship bound for the Orient. Mann said logs cut in the Central Coast area currently have to be hauled to loading docks on the Columbia River at Rainier. He said shipping them out of Newport would save a lot of hauling costs.