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Yearly Archives: 2019


Today, the Port of Kalama filed a petition with the Cowlitz County Superior Court to prevent the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) from further delaying review of the Kalama Methanol Manufacturing and Export Facility. The petition for a constitutional writ of certiorari asks the court to order Ecology to cease preparation of an unnecessary second supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on the Kalama Methanol Manufacturing and Export Facility and to comply with the timeline required by law. Under state statute Ecology was required to decide within 30 days of Cowlitz County’s (County) transmittal to Ecology on September 11, 2019.

“After a great deal of consideration of the options available, the Port reluctantly filed this action against Ecology. The existing environmental review of the project is more than adequate, exceeding all requirements and addressing all of Ecology’s comments and questions,” said Mark Wilson, Executive Director of the Port of Kalama. “The Port, the County and the project proponent, Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) are entitled to have the existing documents reviewed and a decision made.”

The Port’s lawsuit outlines a variety of inconsistencies in Ecology’s standards:

• Treating the project’s shoreline permits as new applications and ignoring the permits that were in place and reinstated by order of the Cowlitz County Superior Court;
• Reversing course on what constitutes an adequate scope for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) impact analysis; and
• Calling a 100 percent Voluntary GHG Mitigation Program inadequate when they previously required only a 1.7 percent mitigation measure.

When Governor Inslee reversed his position about this project, he promised that his stance would not change the state’s regulatory process and objective review of this and similar projects. But now Ecology intends to conduct an unwarranted second SEIS at taxpayers’ expense, likely duplicating existing work and creating needless delay. Last week, the Governor’s budget request for Ecology included $600,000 of funding to “supplement” the SEIS. The size of this request creates questions around the intended scope of the review.

Wilson added, “Ecology cannot hide behind repeated calls for more analysis, when the comprehensive review that the Port and the County have completed in the SEIS and the 100 percent mitigation offered by NWIW exceeds anything ever done in the state—including anything ever done by Ecology. It’s time to decide.”


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Port of Kalama considers exclusivity agreement with local firm to explore development of Spencer Creek Business Park

Pacific Tech Construction would support the Port in determining best mixed-use tenants at the park with sights set on ultimately leasing and developing the property

Port of Kalama is considering a letter of intent from Pacific Tech Construction to develop a portion of Spencer Creek Business Park. The agreement allows Pacific Tech to seek commercial tenants for the location, negotiate property lease agreements, and develop the next stage of the entry tract at the business park.

All activity would be consistent with the Port’s approved Master Plan, land use parameters, and all other covenants and restrictions.

Pacific Tech Construction, Inc., headquartered in Kelso, Washington, is a general construction, roofing, and industrial contractor that provides services to both public and private sector clients across the United States. The firm has experience with projects for a diverse range of federal, state and local government clients, Fortune 500 companies, as well as commercial, manufacturing, processing, and other industrial clients. Services include vertical and horizontal construction, construction management, design-bid-build, design-build, and limited design scopes.

“This could not be a better collaboration for the Port to determine the best use of the entry to the Spencer Creek Business Park—we are pleased that a local Cowlitz County firm shares our vision for what could be,” said Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We will collaborate every step of the way to ensure the most productive and beneficial use of this tract of land.”

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Port of Kalama commissioners move to accept donation of totem poles from Wineberg Family

The Port will work with the Lelooska Foundation on best restoration procedures for the historic pieces which are valued at over $600,000


The Port of Kalama board of commissioners voted this evening to accept the donation of the totem poles that have long been a presence on the Port waterfront. The totems, which have been professionally appraised at $600,000, will remain on the Port of Kalama property while best restoration techniques are identified.

As The Daily News reported in 2017, ‘the totem poles are owned by the descents of William Wineberg, who commissioned a local Native American artist, Chief Don Lelooska, to carve the poles in the 1960s. For several years, the poles sat in the grass in front of Wineberg’s Columbia Inn in downtown Kalama before they were hauled to the port and raised in 1974.’

The poles were originally leased by the Kalama Chamber but the Port assumed the lease in the 1990s for $1 per year in an agreement thereafter.

The Port will work to restore the iconic local artifacts including consulting with Lelooska Foundation and other experts on refurbishing the existing poles and determining the best way to preserve and display the 140′ pole. After analysis, the Port will commence restoration of all four poles, which would include taking the remaining three down one at a time for drying, removing rot, structural fill of voids/cracks, carving structural fill, weatherizing, re-painting and erecting.

The Port wishes to thank descendants of the Wineberg family who are collectively the generous donors of the iconic artifacts:

• Ellen Leigh

• Janet Hatfield

• Mathew Nollar

• Amanda Nollar

• Susan E Hatfield

• Julie Reese

• John C. Jensen, Jr.

• Eric Scott Jensen

“This is just an incredible gift to the community-and ensures that these beloved local icons and symbols of our place here will remain intact for all to enjoy,” says Alan Basso, president, board of commissioners, Port of Kalama. “Thank you to the family for entrusting us with the ongoing care of these beautiful totems-we take that role seriously.”

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Port of Kalama approves budget for 2020, votes again to collect no property taxes from local residents

Decades of strategic planning by past port commissioners ensures the required revenue to maintain port facilities, parks and services for all residents with no taxes collected!

Every year the Port of Kalama commission is required to establish a budget for the following year and declare whether it will levy property taxes on residents living in the Port district. Once again, the Port has elected to pass on collecting property taxes from local residents—even as the 2020 budget was approved for up to $18 million capital projects that will support the local economy and community.

The good news for tax district residents? The port continues to maintain all long-term economic development projects and recreational facilities enjoyed by the general public with existing revenue and no new taxes!

How can we do that? Decades of careful strategic planning and foresight by numerous Port of Kalama commissions have enabled the Port to fulfill its mission based on its current business operations. Long-term decisions like developing the marine terminals, Spencer Creek Business Park and the Kalama River Industrial Park impact the local economy, local jobs and local development. All for the good of the entire community.

As an economic development entity, the Port of Kalama has developed considerable economic muscle to the benefit of Cowlitz County as well as the State of Washington. Just some of the Port’s recent economic contributions include:

• Over $70 million capital investment by the Port of Kalama itself since 2014
• 2018 operating revenue over $16 million and a net revenue over $4.5 million
• 303 ships visited the marine terminal in 2018 providing 69% of Port revenue
• And the Port was named the third largest bulk exporter on the West Coast just behind LA and Long Beach, California

There’s a thriving Circle of Life at the Port

Port of Kalama’s contributions—and those of its business partners—to the economic and cultural well-being of the community exemplify the economic circle of life core to the Port’s success. Every year residents are beneficiaries of the significant capital investment of the businesses here: revenues from wharves, the marina and industrial leases enable the Port to continue creating local jobs while providing public recreational opportunities.

Thanks to this robust Circle of Life, we are able to continue our commitment to serving the public with parks, wharf facilities, walking paths, new amenities like the Westin Amphitheater and more! And our little town has become a unique destination for locals and tourists alike—all creating additional community health in the form of more revenues, more jobs and excellent opportunity.

And so we reflect on an amazing year of progress and prosperity here and look forward to a new year of exciting projects and community connection.

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Port of Kalama approves changes to roundabout at Spencer Creek Business Park

C & R Tractor and Landscaping, Inc. will construct changes to the roundabout to accommodate oversized vehicles approximately 125-long

The Port of Kalama board of commissioners has approved a change order in the amount not to exceed $300,000 to implement changes to the roundabout at Spencer Creek Business Park—all to accommodate vehicles approximately 125-feet long and 14-feet wide. C & R Tractor and Landscaping, Inc. will provide construction services to retrofit the roundabout which is a part of the Spencer Creek Business Park Phase 1 development project.

The roundabout design changes include:

• Installing and delineating areas outside the normal design drive lanes that will accommodate oversized equipment when necessary;
• Extending asphalt for these oversized vehicles to utilize when required, moving curbs, re-locating utilities, and installing the required stormwater facilities to treat additional runoff from these expanded impervious areas.
• Installing additional pedestrian and vehicular safety measures in the extended pavement areas.

After studying many alternatives and much coordination with the City of Kalama (City), the initial roundabout plan was designed to accommodate a typical American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) WB-67 truck and trailer which together are 73.5-feet long. That design was approved by the City based on guidance from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and complies with the Development Guidelines and Public Works Standards of the City (available on their website). As with any traffic improvement, the number one goal is public safety. The final design was a balance between the safety of the expected users over the 20-year build-out of the area, sight-lines, traffic speed, and avoiding the adjacent critical areas.

Years of thought and design by the City, Port, and engineers have been invested in this roundabout and traffic pattern project in conjunction with Cowlitz County Public Works and Engineering review. The Port commissioners heard concerns about equipment that may have a challenge in the area when they are loaded with very heavy and wide equipment—and we take those concerns very seriously.

The Port took a conservative approach when first designing the roundabouts, modeling a reasonable drive path for the apparent longest and widest loads. When concerns regarding accommodating larger vehicles, approximately 125-feet long, arose, the Port halted the construction project for further review of the design.

The final lift of asphalt was delayed to accommodate these changes—as was road striping. Adding the lift to the entire project at the same time makes the finish stronger and will help avoid maintenance issues on the finished road surface.

These delays have brought the project into fall and winter months where asphalt installation is impacted by weather, so the Port will need to schedule further construction based on availability of asphalt and weather temperature and rain.

The Port asks for patience from the community as teams work toward the best long-term, low-maintenance solutions that will support industry in the area. The Port understands the inconvenience and is working diligently to complete the next phase as quickly as Mother Nature permits.

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We give thanks.

As we celebrate this season of gratitude, we honor the rich quality of life and profound sense of community we experience here in Kalama—our home.

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Kalama Methanol Permit Review / Ecology Information

Port of Kalama echoes the County frustration with how Ecology has handled its review including its request for more information in the October 9, 2019 letter. In particular, we agree with the County that Ecology is ignoring the unprecedented offer of greenhouse gas mitigation. We join the County in the strong belief that it is time to have this project reviewed by the Shoreline Hearings Board because we are confident that it will stand up to that scrutiny. For details see below.

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Discover! The Port collaborates with schools and businesses to educate students on career opportunities right here at home

Port businesses interested in exploring internships or project work for students are encouraged to connect with the Kalama School District

Did you know that businesses at the Port of Kalama employ more than 1,200 people? When you drive by the Port you may not see a lot of people or corporate neon signs, but Port of Kalama businesses combine to create a formidable employment community in Cowlitz County.

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We’ve got a plan! Port of Kalama completes annual strategic planning to guide projects and budget in 2020 and beyond

It’s been a busy year so far welcoming new tenants to the Port of Kalama, furthering our mission and planning for future projects. The commission and staff held their annual Strategic Planning Meeting last week— reviewing projects for 2020 and up to five years of potential activity.

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Help us celebrate a big one! Port of Kalama turns 100 years old next year

The Port of Kalama will celebrate its Centennial Birthday in 2020 and we’d like you to be a part of the story!

In the Spring of 2020, we will all celebrate the Port of Kalama’s rich history and unique place in the Kalama community as well as in the Pacific Northwest—we invite you to be a part of that story!

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