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About: Claudia Johnson

Recent Posts by Claudia Johnson

Every Day is Earth Day at Port of Kalama

At the core of the Port of Kalama’s mission is a promise to carefully evaluate community investments to create jobs and enhance public recreational opportunities all while protecting and enhancing the environment and natural resources. That careful balance is in the DNA of every single project the Port of Kalama embarks upon. It is the Port’s job to ensure that environment, economy and community assets are thoughtfully planned to work in harmony with one another.

The Port of Kalama is dedicated to preserving Kalama’s natural environment through community service projects and facility enhancements that protect its natural resources:

  • An extensive marina renovation project that offers several significant environmental benefits is currently underway:
    • Replacing solid concrete floats with grated floats that allow sunlight through to minimize predatory habitat;
    • Solid steel access ramps are being upgraded with grated steel also allowing for sunlight and improved ADA-compliant recreational access,;
    • A new fire system will minimize environmental risk related to potential fires in the marina;
    • Old, original creosite timber piles are being replaced with steel.
  • The Port supports the Lower Columbia River Fish Enhancement Group for salmon habitat restoration at the lower Kalama River. The Port has invested in wood structures built along the shoreline to provide shelter and safe feeding areas for young salmon.
  • Water-infiltration systems were installed to avoid stormwater discharge at the Industrial Park, Marina, and Port-owned facilities and buildings.
  • The Port received the Pathways 2020 Community Champions Award in 2017 for its significant community and environmental contributions.

 

The Port of Kalama ensures that business, the environment and its robust recreational opportunities are all working together.  With a mission to balance the needs of the community with stringent environmental protection, the Port invests in things that make Kalama a better place to live.

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Discover! Does the Port levy taxes?

No taxes! Decades of strategic planning by past port commissioners continues to ensure the required revenue to maintain port facilities, parks and services for all residents with no taxes added. Every year the Port of Kalama commission is required to declare whether it will levy property taxes on residents living in the Port district area. With careful planning and project management, the port continues to maintain all long-term economic development projects as well as public facilities with the existing revenue it collects from business operations.

Regional residents are beneficiaries of the significant capital investment of the businesses here at the Port of Kalama. Revenue from wharf usage, leases, and other business fees enable the Port to fulfill its mission of inducing capital investment in an environmentally responsible manner to create jobs and to enhance public recreational opportunities. Thanks to port businesses and the port’s commitment to serving the public with parks, industrial facilities and marine terminals, walking paths and creating a unique tourist destination, locals can enjoy the bounty without paying a cent in taxes.

About 78% of the Port’s value is invested in capital assets which include land, buildings, docks, improvements such as roads and utilities, and equipment which are valued at over $132 million, The Port owns and manages over 1,000 acres of property which includes our parks.  Major projects in 2016 included building two warehouses, acquiring property near I5 Exit 32, and completion of the marina parking and trail project.

Next up: Discover! Who are port industries and businesses—how do they support the Kalama community?

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Port of Kalama awards contract for storm water and industrial lot improvements

The Port of Kalama board of commissioners last week voted to award the Central Port Storm Water and Lot Improvement Construction Project contract to Barcott Construction, LLC located in Chehalis, Washington. The $428,140.00 contract—not including Washington sales tax— includes improvements to water quality and improving the site for increased industrial use. The project is expected to run through the end of June.

The contract includes construction in the Central Port Industrial Area including:

  • Construction of a storm water infiltration pond and capping existing outfalls to the Columbia River,
  • Installing storm water lines to direct storm water to the new infiltration facility,
  • Demolishing two unusable buildings,
  • Removing concrete structures and utilities from the old Columbia Fiber site, and
  • Minor fill and asphalt of existing depressions in the lot.

 

The improvements are part of the Port’s strategic plan to balance a healthy environment and an inviting business climate. The new infiltration ponds will treat and infiltrate storm water and prevent discharge to the river while the industrial lot improvements will make the area more conducive to leasing for industrial uses and new business.

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Port of Kalama awards contract for Marine Park improvements and amphitheater construction

The Port’s strategic plan includes construction of a small outdoor venue and ongoing improvements to parks for public recreation and enjoyment

The Port of Kalama board of commissioners last night voted to award the Amphitheater and Park Improvements Construction Project contact to Keystone Contracting, Inc., an excavation contractor based in Ridgefield, Washington. The $854,392.08 contract—not including Washington sales tax— includes construction of a small outdoor amphitheater and maintenance at Marine Park. The project is expected to run between May and July 2018.

Th contract includes excavation, grading, and concrete to create seating, and construction of a covered stage as well as:

  • Replacement of the asphalt walkway in Marine and Rasmussen Parks,
  • Installation of lighted bollards along the asphalt walkway, and
  • Replacement of the irrigation system in Marine Park

 

“Part of the Port’s mission is to create recreational opportunities for the community—these improvements and the addition of a small outdoor venue for public events fulfill that goal,” says Randy Sweet, president, Port of Kalama board of commissioners. “With increased use of Port parks, the intent is to create more diverse and enjoyable guest experiences at events like the ones the region has been enjoying for decades such as the Blues and Hawaiian Festivals among others.”

The Port of Kalama has long considered the community benefits of creating a small public amphitheater on the Kalama waterfront to accommodate a growing number of events, concerts and public activities.

“We envision a grassy open space with tiered seating for concerts and special events that already attract us to the Kalama waterfront—the area will be open to the public except during special events,” says Sweet. “A significant benefit is that the stage and seating will be in a natural setting; the stage will be covered and power will be permanently installed for ease of planning community events.”

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Discover! What is the economic impact of Port of Kalama?

As an economic development entity and a land developer, the Port of Kalama has developed considerable economic muscle to the benefit of Cowlitz County as well as the State of Washington. In the State of Washington, the Port supports:

  • 1220 full-time direct jobs with over $129 million in payroll
  • Beyond Port boundaries, 2156 indirect jobs and 1399 induced jobs, with a combined payroll of $219 million
  • Total economic impact: 4775 jobs with over $349 million in payroll and over $3 billion in economic output
  • Spencer Creek Business Park’s projected economic impact could mean an additional 727 construction jobs and 907 ongoing jobs over the next 20 years, with an estimated total direct, indirect and induced impact of over 3000 jobs

 

Companies and employees located here purchase materials, buy lunches and gas, and pay taxes. State and local taxes paid by port located companies exceed $95 million per year.

In 2016, the Port of Kalama Administration paid over $5 million to suppliers, over $2.1 million for staff, and over $355,000 in taxes. All of this enters the economic “circle of life” and supports our community through additional purchasing and supporting those indirect and induced jobs.

The Port is consistently honored with the Pathways 2020 Community Champions Award for Economic Vitality which awards organizations that excel at creating jobs, employee training, employable skills, new or expanding business, transportation, financial security, reducing poverty, and higher wages.

Next up: Discover! Does the Port levy taxes?

Port of Kalama Marine Terminal

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It’s Ports Day! Creating Jobs and Propelling the Economy

Today, April 5th, seaports of the Americas will celebrate Western Hemisphere Ports Day—an opportunity to showcase our industry’s role in job creation and economic prosperity. Ports are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure within the state of Washington and Pacific Northwest, and indeed the whole Western Hemisphere connecting farmers, manufacturers, workers and consumers to the global marketplace.

United in our common goal of creating prosperity throughout the Hemisphere, the Port of Kalama is proud to join hundreds of ports in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, to highlight and celebrate the value of ports.

Like ports worldwide, the Port of Kalama has an ongoing commitment to help educate our community and its leaders about the important role we play as a vital link to the global economy.

The importance of ports in our region is well documented.  According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, in 2016 North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.07 trillion.

However, the economic worth of all cargo in terms of jobs and business activity is much greater than its market value. According  to a recent survey, in the U.S. alone, port activity generates over 23 million jobs and accounts for over one quarter of the nation’s economy.

Ports also play a critical role in providing goods that impact our everyday lives. Millions of tons of food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys, move through Western Hemisphere seaports every day.

We are proud to join hundreds of Western Hemisphere seaports in the celebration of Ports Day. In support of workers, farmers, employers, manufacturers and consumers everywhere, we are excited to meet the growing demands of the future.

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Longtime Port of Kalama finance manager, Stu Shelby, retires

Port of Kalama today bids adieu to longtime finance manager Stu Shelby. Shelby, who retires today, has worked at the Port for nearly 20 years managing all financial statements, budgeting processes, and annual audits in addition to day-to-day finance needs of the Port.

Shelby has overseen the financing of some of the Port’s milestone projects like the Kalama River Industrial Park, Columbia River Channel Deepening, Haydu Park and the first phase of Spencer Creek Business Park, the new Administrative Building and Interpretive Center and now the new McMenamins slated to open in April.

“The development and growth we’ve seen over the last 20 years—well, it hasn’t been boring,” laughs Shelby. “The Port of Kalama has been an incredible place to work and contribute to the community—the commissioners and staff are the best team around, so diligent and supportive. It’s been a terrific opportunity.”

“The commission cannot thank Stu enough for his guidance as our in-house auditor and for his attention to details in the management of our finances over the past two decades of growth,” said Commissioner Randy Sweet, Port of Kalama Commission President. “We are so pleased to announce that Mindy Heuer, who has trained under Stu’s guidance, will now assume that important position.”

Heuer, currently accounting specialist at the Port, has accepted the promotion to finance manager. Heuer, who just finished her Masters of Science in Finance at Seattle University this week, will now manage the department and oversee financing and accounting for all of the myriad Port projects. Heuer is also a certified public accountant.

“Stu leaves such incredibly big shoes to fill—I’ve learned so much from him and I’ll miss him terribly,” says Heuer. “He set up a system that runs like clockwork—he’s been meticulous in his management and accounting which makes it easy to pick right up. We wish him well in his new adventures.”

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Discover! What is the Port’s business model—how does it generate revenue?

Included in the Port’s sources of revenue are leases of various Port properties and buildings, marine terminals, services associated with grain terminal & break-bulk docks and the Kalama marina.

About 78% of the Port’s value is invested in capital assets which include land, buildings, docks, improvements such as roads and utilities, and equipment which are valued at over $132 million.

The Port owns and manages over 1,000 acres of property which includes our parks.

 

Next up: Discover! What is the economic impact of Port of Kalama?

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Discover! What projects is the Port now working on—and are they are a part of the Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements?

From the new Spencer Creek Business Park to a new building in the Kalama River Industrial Park, McMenamins locating here, and international businesses choosing Kalama as the perfect place to grow—all of these exist now thanks to years and years of contemplation, collaboration and diligent planning. Port predecessors worked thoughtfully for decades to plan and prepare for the regional success the region is now experiencing.

The Port continues the community’s history and pioneering vision of growing with purpose and intention—in ways that will benefit the entire region for decades to come. This vision brings with it thousands of jobs, revenue streams, economic vitality and opportunities for all who live in Cowlitz County.

Thanks to responsible planning over decades the Port enjoys a thriving recreational system with parks and playgrounds, a new sports complex, and popular riverfront, pathways and marina enhancements. All of these business and recreational assets improve the health, livability and economy here—and all without any Port-levied taxes.

Some examples of decades of Port planning manifesting in projects that will benefit the entire region include:

The North Port Heavy Industrial Site, which will be the home of the Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility, has been identified and developed to support such industry for over 20 years and through multiple Comprehensive Planning processes.  Specifically, the plans have identified construction of a new wharf, installing roads and utilities, and developing a water system for industrial use

Spencer Creek Business Park: Economic assessments as early as the mid-1990s identified a future need for additional mixed-use development along I-5 and for additional recreational opportunities.  The Port included this information in the Comprehensive Plan, and as suitable property became available, began purchasing and planning.  The result is the current development which has begun at I-5 Exit 32 and includes Haydu Park and the Spencer Creek Business Park.

Next up: Discover! What is the Port’s business model—and how does it generate revenue?

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Discover! What is a Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements, and how does the Port make business decisions?

Ports in Washington state are required to develop comprehensive plans to guide investments and establish policies for activities. The Port of Kalama Commission is governed by policy set forth in the Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements as it is officially named—which is required by law. The Commission—as part of planning—helps to create a balanced and diverse industry base to provide living wage jobs and a range of community recreational amenities.

A comprehensive planning process helps to determine community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. The Scheme identifies opportunities for future investment, operation and development that will benefit the community. The comprehensive planning process can be condensed into a three step “how to” process that describes the port’s assets, what is going to be done with them, and how:

  1. An inventory of assets including lands and facilities.
  2. Proposed use of assets
  3. The implementation plan

 

The Port of Kalama holds extensive internal discussions and public meetings annually to clarify and update its vision. The Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements is the embodiment of the Port and community vision for achieving the Port’s mission. The Port’s annual strategic planning process outlines goals and objectives to ensure that the Port meets its commitment to excellence contained in the Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements. Citizens are welcome to both comment during the planning phase of this framework and are welcome to review it anytime: Comprehensive Scheme And Plan of Harbor Improvement.

The Port of Kalama is a key source of family wage jobs in Kalama and Cowlitz County. The Port offers employers an array of properties, from developable land to industrial buildings and Columbia River dockage. Transportation is a key to the Port’s properties, with excellent access to rail, highway and water.

The Port of Kalama’s comprehensive planning process identified several key projects as beneficial to the entire Kalama community: major investment planned in the Spencer Creek Business Park, North Port large industrial development known as the Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility, as well as public recreation and tourist attractions. The Port also envisions continued growth in the Kalama River Industrial Park’s cadre of flexible industrial properties. As the Port continues to attract tenants to existing properties, it will seek mission-suited opportunities to enhance its holdings and acquire property as fiscally responsible.

Next up: Discover! What projects now underway are a part of the Port’s Comprehensive Planning Process?

 

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