Export This Part 2

In about 1999 or so, we hired Peter Gearin as the new Port Director.

At about this same time, two new faces would appear in the commission line up – Jim Bergeron who defeated Bob Filori and Don McDaniel who replaced June Spence who decided not to run again.

There were several commissioner changes leading up to this point. When Peter Gearin took the helm, the new commission lineup was Dan Hess, Jim Bergeron, Don McDaniel, Bob Eaton, and Myself.

For the next couple of years, we embarked on several new ideas and developments. Two major accomplishments that happened – The pier 3 warehouse is torn down and recycled at little cost to the port. As a side note, we had tried to either lease or tear down Pier 3 warehouse to no avail (financially speaking). Peter Gearin was the one that figured it out and got it done! Under the leadership of deputy director Bill Cook would put into motion the Boat Haulout facility on Pier 3.

Cook started pushing the Boat Haulout concept during former director Krebs tenure. Bill and myself took several trips to visit other haulout facilities and to visit with the owners of them to get a handle on what to expect. There wasn’t a single owner that said they had enough space. In fact most (if not all) said they were limited on space. These other haulout facilities had been in operation for quite a while and were doing very well. Most were operating near full capacity.

With this information in hand, we performed a market study on the Boat Haulout concept.

As is typical for public agencies that perform these market studies, it should be unsurprising that the result of the market study was favorable for a haulout.

Because we already had a lot of the infrastructure in place, the capital cost to build the haulout facility was negligible compared to the revenue potential. I believed then and I believe now that the port needs to let the boat haulout facility mature. Once the full revenue potential is realized, the port will not have to do anything other than count the money. The revenue potential is enormous and is the most important development the port has ever achieved. If you haven’t thanked Bill Cook for pushing this concept and following it out, you should. Without Bill’s dedication to this project, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

With the Boat Haulout facility now a bird in hand, our next adventure was to start developing the immediate port dock areas. Our first goal was to draw up a strategic and master plan on how we envisioned the Port.

Coming Soon – The Master Plan and the anchor tenant.


5 thoughts on “Export This Part 2

  1. It should be pointed out that current commissioner Floyd Holcom performed the independent market study for the establishment of the boatyard. At that time, hiring the usual consulting teams to perform the necessary due dillegence of an in-depth study was not on our menu. We wanted someone who could turn over the rocks, ask relative questions from a cross section of users in and out of the PoA taxing district to represent either a strong potential or weak one. More importantly, an unbiased study that questioned the feasibility. The indications from FH, by the way working for PN&D a local engineering firm at that time, even faced with two functioning yards (AMCCO & Salmi’s in Warrenton and Port of Ilwaco across the creek) the demand was there to develop the yard. It should also be noted that the yard was just one piece of the complex puzzle to move away from the traditional uses of the port property that had dimnished significantly over many years. With the installation of fish processors on Pier 2 first, the harbors moving towards either full restoration or phased improvements, now the yard, the pieces were in place and showed a committment by the port then towards these lines of business, thereby giving investors like Englund, Bornstein,Canessa & Palmberg, Jacobs, Taggart, Davis, Helligso,and Cary, Bob and Lasse at Columbia Pacific Marine Works, J&H Boatworks, Bergerson Construction, MSRC, Darrell Kapps, the list goes on, an opportunity to grow their existing business while staying in Clatsop County. The port was actually doing what it should be doing all the time; enabling those within their boudaries to grow and increase employment and production ahead of looking outside the district for some golden egg. There is much to be done to finish this work. Like a child at a buffet, small portions first to see if you even like it is a better approach than to fill the plate so full that the crabs legs are falling on the floor before you get back to your seat.

  2. BC: Thank you for adding your perspective on the events. I had forgotten that current commissioner Holcom had put the market study together. Hopefully he gets in tune to the “these things take time and should be nurtured” mantra. He has an opportunity to show some leadership on the port. Hopefully he doesn’t squander this opportunity.

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