From beginning to end – seven years from the initial planning to the breaking of a bottle of champagne over a bollard – the rebuilt Newport International Terminal has been completed and is already serving the maritime industry. On Friday Port of Newport Commissioners, past and present, along with workers, contractors, regulatory agencies, funders and those who will use the international terminal, gathered for the official dedication of the facility.
In a port warehouse, Port Manager Don Mann told an appreciative crowd that although it’s been a long grind, it’s done and it’s open for business. The Port of Newport’s International Terminal is finally completed.
The facility’s first major client is Teevin Brothers log exporters out of Rainier, OR. Teevin Brothers is expected to begin shipping logs to the Orient next year. Teevin is waiting for the final resolution of a challenge to the project by neighbors who live along and near Moore Drive, a major arterial that will be used by trucks loaded with logs bound for the terminal. Neighbors, who moved in after the last era of log exports ended in the mid-90s, claim logging trucks and their neighborhood don’t get along and pose a major safety hazard for those who use Moore Drive or who walk its sidewalks and crosswalks. The issue is currently before the state Land Use Board of Appeals. A ruling on the neighbors’ appeal is expected shortly.
Port President JoAnn Barton said the terminal’s completion represents the port’s continuing commitment to be an economic engine for Newport. She used the term “transformation of infrastructure” as the theme of her remarks in that physical facilities, able to handle cargo, fishing, recreation, charter boats. tourism, and marine research must come first before the economic benefits of those industries can be delivered to the current economy of Newport as well as to the future economy. She said that continuous investment by private industry and the public sector are needed to continue the partnerships necessary to provide jobs for today’s families and for the many families to come. And to maintain that forward momentum the port will need income derived from International Terminal operations as well as from other sources.
Port Manager Don Mann chronicled the long time-line of the terminal’s resurrection and head contractor Nett McDougal finished up saying that the project was filled with scary moments of unanticipated challenges from pollution clean up to selective salvaging of parts of the old concrete World War II cargo ships that sat on the bottom of the bay, providing support for the old docks above the waterline.
Port Commissioner David Jincks reminded the crowd just how close the port came to losing the critically important business of servicing fishing vessels of the Alaskan Fleet. He said the terminal was literally within weeks of losing that substantial source of revenue. But with the financial commitment of the port to rebuilding the terminal, the fleet decided to keep Newport a regular base for maintenance and other important service needs on the American west coast.
Outside on the terminal, Port President JoAnn Barton was tasked with the honors of cracking the ceremonial champagne bottle over one of the terminal’s tie-up bollards: