WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Port of Newport: Tuna challenge, what’s in a logging terminal and keeping John Moore and Bay Roads safe

Newport Port Commission (top)
The right kind of “bounced” check (bottom)

John Moore/Bay Road logging trucks
Newport Port Commissioners ran a rather short meeting Tuesday night but they definitely had their high beams on while doing it. For starters they launched a date for the first John Moore Road/Bay Road citizens task force (partnered with the city of Newport) that will examine the return of logging trucks to those two major throughways. Many neighbors decry the return of those trucks loaded with wood going down “their streets.” Hundreds of trucks will be bringing logs to the soon-to-be completed Port of Newport’s International Terminal. In an earlier meeting neighbors demonstrated their concern for their childrens’ safety as they walk to their bus stops or on sidewalks that are mere feet away from among the biggest vehicles on Oregon Roads.

Port officials have stated clearly and consistently that the port is an industrial operation with a long history in the area and that log exports have been historically an economic mainstay for the Central Coast. True, log exports abated in the 1990’s, but now they’re back and they’ll be once again a major part of the local economy.

Port officials stated recently that they sympathize with the neighbors and have indicated that an alternate route to the International Terminal must be investigated. The first scheduled meeting of the task force is now officially set for 6pm, September 19th at Newport City Hall.

Teevin Brothers proposal
And speaking of logs, Newport area residents will soon get their first glimpse of Teevin Brothers’ exact plans for the International Terminal, where those log trucks will be dropping off their loads. Port Manager Don Mann says the port will soon set a date in September for a Teevin Brothers “Open House” at the port offices so the public can see what’s in store for the International Terminal. Mann says Teevin Brothers runs a high quality operation that bears little resemblance to logging yards of old. He says they’re clean, they’re well organized and that they are good neighbors. Again, stay tuned to this website for a date for the open house.

Great Tuna Challenge and the “bounced” check
As you can see in the second photo, Port Commission Chair JoAnn Barton and Newport Food Pantry and rising special events guru Jim Myers each has a hand on a $1,500 check that Myers was giving to the port. The deal was, if the port let Myers use port property to conduct the Great Albacore Tuna Challenge (to benefit the food pantry) he would give the port half of the proceeds from the event. And so he did. Or tried. Immediately after giving Barton the check, it “bounced” right back to Jim and the food pantry, “with our compliments,” said Barton. Myers thanked each port commissioner personally and predicted that next year’s Great Albacore Tuna Challenge will be even greater than this year’s which Myers said was a whopping success.

Port of Newport: Manager Don Mann to stay on ’til December of 2013


Don Mann, left with Rep. Kurt Schrader

Newport Port Commissioners Tuesday night convinced their General Manager Don Mann, that he should not retire for at least another year, what with all the challenges coming up associated with the new International Terminal and the formulation of a new business plan for the port overall.

Mann said last month that he wanted to retire on a high note after securing NOAA’s Pacific Marine Headquarters for Newport and the successful completion of the International Terminal. However, the commission pitched him hard at staying until everything with the new terminal is up and running smoothly.

One element that will be somewhat of a challenge is working on how to get logging trucks to and from the terminal through a neighborhood that has grown up around the route the trucks must take. For the time being that is John Moore Road down to Bay Boulevard, then east to the terminal. A number of neighbors along those stretches of pavement say they bought their homes never imagining that the port would get back into the log export business which had ceased many years ago. Now it’s starting back up with an expected contract with Teevin Brothers, based in Rainier, who run a big operation up there. The port, in close cooperation with the city of Newport, is working on a long range plan to determine if some other access can be established so that the trucks won’t have to come down John Moore’s steep grade with a sharp turn to the east at the bottom. A stakeholder’s committee made up of port and city officials along with neighborhood representatives will soon be exploring how to minimize impacts from the many trucks that will begin delivering logs to the International Terminal for shipment overseas starting as early as next January or February.

Don Mann, Port of Newport Manager, announces his retirement

Don Mann (l) with Rep. Kurt Schrader (r) celebrating NOAA’s choice of Newport for HQ

Don Mann last evening, during the monthly Port of Newport Commissioners meeting, that he is retiring effective in January. Mann, who has logged over ten years at the helm of the port, will retire with a rather impressive record of public service in guiding the port in its acquisition of the NOAA fleet and the impending completion of the International Terminal.

Don Mann became the port’s manager in January of 1996 and has held a steady reputation for being someone who had great ideas and a rock steady plan to get them done. His David and Goliath epic performance to wrestle NOAA away from the Port of Seattle was undeniably his crowning achievement while enduring a firestorm of controversy among the northwest’s congressional delegation which pitted Oregon Senators against their colleagues in Washington State. It was due to Mann’s passion for doing his homework, his extreme attention to detail and winning over the confidence of NOAA itself that turned the tide, putting Newport on the map for oceanographic research; a dividend that will continue to pay enormous benefits as NOAA and the Hatfield Marine Science Center pursue their goal of making Newport the Woods Hole of the west coast. It has also sparked discussion among local leaders with Oregon State University officials that Newport has good reason to be considered as a location for a satellite campus for Oregon State University.

Mann told News Lincoln County that although he is retiring after 37 years of public service he will not be taking up the rocking chair as a lifestyle. He said he will be active in other pursuits that are economic development in nature. He did not elaborate.

He said he has faith in the port commission to plan a way forward to even greater economic growth for the Central Coast.

Newport: Logging trucks coming after Jan. 1st to John Moore Road. Port and Newport to explore other truck routes later.

Photos of John Moore and Bay Road to the International Terminal
Wikipedia photo of log ship (bottom)

Although Newport Port Director Don Mann admits the port doesn’t have a final agreement hammered out with log exporting company Teevin Brothers of Rainier, Oregon, Mann says he’s confident that full logging trucks will by plying Highway 20, down John Moore Road, then east on Bay Road to the new International Terminal. There they will be loaded aboard ships that will take the logs to China or any other country in the Pacific Rim that wants to buy them. Mann predicts the logging trucks will begin to roll by the first of the year.

Neighbors in that part of town were understandably very concerned about logging trucks rumbling down John Moore, then having to make a sharp turn at the bottom, and then take up most of the eastbound section of the Bay Road from the Embarcadero to the port entrance. A quick list of neighborhood concerns included:

* Although logging trucks were part of the landscape back in the 80’s, a lot has changed since then. The area has become far more residential. An alternate route should be created.
* Logging trucks and tourists don’t mix well, nor do they mix well with children, bicyclists or pedestrians.
* The the presence of hundreds of logging trucks will reduce property values.
* Logging trucks will detract from the Bay Road’s emergence as a favorite walking, biking and jogging throughway. Safety will be compromised by the trucks.
* Noise could become an ongoing headache for the neighbors.
* Wear and tear on John Moore Road and a section of the Bay road would fall on city of Newport taxpayers which is unfair.
* Hours of logging truck and unloading operations should be established. Teevin Brothers wants 6am to 6pm. Newport City Councilors were thinking more like 7am to 4pm but it’s all up for negotiation.
* Some residents were concerned about ships coming into Yaquina Bay and bringing invasive species in their bilge waters.

Comments addressing those issues included:
* The port clearly understands the neighbors’ concerns. The port is “all ears” on public input on the process by which logging exports return to Newport.
* Newport and the Port of Newport is forming a task force with port and city officials, along with representatives of the public serving on it.
* City and port officials said they would like to have the task force up and running by August to begin developing plans to get logs off Highway 20 and down to the International Terminal without using John Moore Road. Officials say any proposal will be very expensive. It was also said that anyone or any company that is profiting from these log exports should be paying their fair share into determining and building a safer, more effective truck route from Highway 20 to the port.
* The task force will develop ideas for an alternate route and begin working closely with ODOT to be the primary state “go-to” agency to make it happen. Funding will be the stickler. However, Oregon lottery funds that were largely responsible for NOAA moving to Newport, may come to the rescue again to help fund an alternative route that makes sense. There are also other funding sources being explored.
* Concerns about invasive species hitching rides in the bilge tanks of logging ships will be addressed through strict regulations about open ocean dumping of bilge water so that ships arrive in Newport with clean water in their ballast tanks. They say there will be a limited number of ships transporting logs overseas and that all of them are fully certified and committed to properly managing their bilge waters.
* The positive economic impacts of the logging and log transport operations will be quite substantial for Newport and surrounding areas.

The Port Commission takes up the matter again on June 26th while the Newport City Council will tackle it again in early July. Both port and city officials seemed very anxious to get appointments made to the task force. They are inviting interested citizens of Newport and others in the region to take part since the port district runs pretty much up and down the central portion of Lincoln County’s coastline.

Newport City Council gives tenative thumbs up to Yaquina Bay Fruit’s idea to expand at South Beach


Yaquina Bay Fruit Company, next to NOAA, South Beach

As News Lincoln County told you last month, the Port of Newport has been approached by the Yaquina Bay Fruit Company to allow it to move from port owned property near NOAA to a piece of land to the south and west, which would also be on port property but more on the water. Yaquina Bay Fruit says they want to create up to 20 new jobs and expand their operations to have public tours, watch simple cherries become “Marishino” cherries and enjoy some retail shopping at the facility.

Newport resident Janet Webster objected to the idea pointing out that Yaquina Bay Fruit does not need waterfront property to process cherries, offer retail shopping and tours; all that, she claimed, could be more appropriately created elsewhere. Webster said that waterfront land should be reserved for operations and facilities that need waterfront property and access to the bay, like more science research facilities that will emerge from a growing Hatfield Marine Science Center. She told the council, “Instead of good planning, I see here a move to simply accommodate what’s already there; a cherry processing operation that should be located elsewhere, and could survive fine elsewhere.” City Councilor Jeff Bertuleit chimed in saying that if Yaquina Bay Fruit were to locate on privately owned land it would better benefit the city tax-wize than remaining on publicly owned land at the South Beach Marina.

Mayor Mark McConnell and other councilors pointed out that Rogue Brewery was allowed to establish a beach head on the south side of the bay even though they were not water dependent either. But today they’re there and they’re a big tourist draw. And they’re expanding. Saying that creating new jobs in the middle of the worst recession in over 80 years is important, the council approved the idea of Yaquina Bay Fruit moving to the new location next to the South Beach Marina. Port Manager Don Mann said the city’s endorsement will give the company a clear way forward if they chose to move their operations into an expanded facility to the southwest. He said it will also free up land for water dependent operations in the future, after Mount NOAA is taken down to ground level.

So we’ll see how this shakes out in the months ahead.

Yaquina Bay Fruit Processors seeking to expand operations at South Beach


Yaquina Bay Fruit, next to NOAA

Yaquina Bay Fruit Processing, located immediately south and slightly west of the NOAA MOC-P Headquarters, has approached the Port of Newport with a request to adjust their lease boundaries to accommodate growth in their company. Port of Newport officials say they are studying the matter and hope to work out a deal with Yaquina Bay Fruit to give them the room to grow in a way that will be profitable for the company. Yaquina Bay Fruit set up shop on port property 7 years ago, which leaves another three years on their lease. With a renewed lease and a more workable industrial footprint, the company says it wants to use its prowess in being a leading producer of maraschino cherries to produce the next level of cherrie candies. Port officials say the company could add a substantial number of workers if the plan comes together as envisioned. Port officials say the extra space may come from manipulating what’s left of Mount NOAA just to the west of the company.

Yaquina Bay Fruit specializes in making Maraschino Cherries, which are run through an involved process that gives them their distinctive look, taste and texture.

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