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About: Claudia Johnson

Recent Posts by Claudia Johnson

Discover! A history of stewardship on the river

Like other Pacific Northwest ports, Port of Kalama is an economic and environmental steward of the regional river system. The Port collaborates with regional organizations like Our Working Rivers, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association and Washington Public Ports Association to ensure the health of our river system.

Three main rivers running through the Pacific Northwest—the Columbia River, Willamette River and the Snake River—all support the livelihood of our communities, economy, recreation and quality of life. More than 40,000 jobs in the Pacific Northwest exist because of our strong maritime commerce.

With a key economic and recreational location on the Columbia River, it is the mission of the Port of Kalama to keep the river working for the entire community. The Columbia River plays a vital role in the commerce and trade that support our town. In fact, Kalama was founded because of our place on the river.

Today, 50 million tons of cargo travel up and down the Columbia River. It is the third largest grain export gateway in the world, exporting more than 50% of the nation’s wheat.

We’re all interconnected through our rivers.

Kalama is more resilient and prosperous because of our location on the Columbia River and its connection to the global marketplace. Port of Kalama joins other Pacific Northwest ports as the economic engines of our region working with shippers, barge lines, export companies and farmers to transport cargo like grain, automobiles, lumber and steel up and down the Columbia River safely, efficiently and successfully.

Our River. Our Livelihood. Our Quality of Life.

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To our fellow Kalama Community

Like you, we are saddened to see the results of the weather exposure the Lalooska totem poles have endured over time. We’d like to clarify just a few points.

  • Port of Kalama does not own these poles—we are the host venue.
  • We are working closely with the family of owners to help them with the best way to determine the future of the pole.
  • The Port is investing in engineering consultants to help us—and the family—understand the best—and safest—way to bring the tallest totem to the ground for more evaluation.
  • Until we all know how the tallest totem has been impacted by weather and exposure, we don’t yet know the best solution.
  • We want to keep everyone up-to-date as we receive more information from both engineering teams and the family that owns these treasures.
  • There are three totems that will remain upright at this location while we analyze the tallest which stands at 140’.
  • Engineering specialists advised the Port of Kalama commission that the tallest totem is a potential safety hazard as it is not likely to withstand riverside winds as it once did.
  • The totems are hosted at one of the Port’s most-visited public parks—public safety at Port parks and beaches is our number one concern and priority.

 

We hope that the Kalama community understands that we are doing the best we can to move quickly with engineering and the family of owners to assure a timely solution for the totem.

Thank you all so much for your patience as we identify the best route to proceed.

 

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Port of Kalama engages structural engineering team to evaluate weather-worn Totem Poles at Marine Park

With weathering and wear of the iconic wooden structures, the Port contracted WRK Engineers to examine the condition of the totems

While the Lelooska Totem Poles are beloved structures hosted at the Port of Kalama, time and weather exposure have taken their toll. As a result, the Port of Kalama contracted WRK Engineers to evaluate the structural integrity of the tallest of the wooden symbols standing 140’ high.

The Port engaged the engineering firm to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the tallest pole and its current ability to withstand strong winds and other weather. Early findings show impairment has affected the structural integrity of the pole—and thus the public safety of keeping it installed.

Port of Kalama Board of Commissioners last night declared the project to take down the 140’ pole an emergency action and instructed staff to immediately investigate options to remove the pole. An emergency action is taken when there’s a risk to public safety.

Staff will work with the engineering team to determine the best way to move the pole without creating further damage. The other totem structures will remain upright for now.

The Port is in close communications with the family who owns the totem poles to determine the best solution to potentially restore and maintain them.

The Port encourages visitors to be aware of contractor activity in the area around the structures and to watch for further updates to the plight of the Kalama icons.

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Discover! Come play at the Port of Kalama!

Welcome Summer! There’s no better season to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor recreation that abound here in Kalama.

As a key contributor to the Kalama community, the Port is responsible for providing and enhancing public recreational opportunities. Nestled on the banks of the Columbia River, the Port of Kalama is home to miles of walking paths, water activities and world-class fishing, a state-of-the-art marina and acres of public parks.

Port of Kalama’s celebrated parks offer:

  • Beaches and waterfront for boating and fishing
  • Sporting facilities for soccer, baseball, tennis, football
  • Equestrian arena
  • Picnic facilities and covered areas
  • Walking paths
  • Expo area for events

 

The Port operates and maintains these gorgeous parks for the community to enjoy—and all at no cost to the public. Come visit!

  • Haydu Park
  • Marine Park
  • Louis Rasmussen Park
  • Port of Kalama Marina

 

Port of Kalama’s Transportation Interpretive Center

NEW WEEKEND HOURS 11a – 4p Saturday and Sunday

In addition to public parks and recreational amenities, the Port of Kalama opened a beautiful Transportation Interpretive Center in November, 2014 to showcase its rich history. Exhibits track Kalama’s early inhabitants, the Cowlitz Tribe, and the settlers that followed over the next 100 plus years including renowned Oregon Trail writer Ezra Meeker. Displays illustrate how Kalama’s particular landscape gave birth to a booming transportation system impacting the area both culturally and economically— ultimately transforming the area into its position today as an internationally-connected community. The Interpretive Center not only tells the story of how Kalama was settled but treats visitors to artful display models and replicas.

 

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Discover! What’s new at Spencer Creek Business Park—how is that a part of the Comprehensive Plan?

In the late 1990s Port of Kalama commissioners started considering the future needs of the community and investments required to keep the Kalama’s economic engine on track creating jobs and strategic growth. The result of that thoughtful planning process is the beginning of the Spencer Creek Business Park. Port predecessors worked strategically for decades to plan and prepare for the success the region is now experiencing.

The Port’s economic assessments identified a future need for additional mixed-use development along I-5 and for additional recreational opportunities. The Port included the assessment in its Comprehensive Scheme and Plan of Harbor Improvements and began purchasing land as it became available.

The ‘Comp Scheme’ planning process is open to the public and the community is invited to comment on proposed economic and recreational planning that culminate in the Port’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvement that will benefit Kalama long into the future. The Port of Kalama conducts an annual strategic planning process to target investments, land acquisitions and community amenities to achieve plans outlined in the Comp Scheme.

“All of our Port developments—from the Kalama River Industrial Park to marina upgrades and development of the recreational facilities like Haydu Park—are driven by our Comp Scheme and strategic plan and our observation of what the region needs for economic and recreational health deep into the future,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “With development moving north from Clark County up I-5—we are in a natural position to be the location of the next stage of development. And because of decades of careful planning, we are prepared for it. We’ll have local control over what happens at the site and what kinds of businesses are recruited—we’ll do it in a way that is wise and appropriate for our community.”

The land at Spencer Creek Business Park is still being surcharged to prepare for construction, and the next phase of development will include road improvements, curbs, sidewalks, utility extensions and all of the critical infrastructure to serve the area’s growth and prosperity.

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.

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Port of Kalama and Executive Director Mark Wilson awarded for contributions to education and the Kalama School District

The Port of Kalama and Executive Director Mark Wilson have been honored with the 2018 Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) Community Leadership Award for the Columbia River Region. The award recognizes Wilson’s and the Port of Kalama’s many contributions to the Kalama School District. The Port was instrumental in organizing the Kalama High School Career Fair and recruiting Port businesses to participate in an effort to educate students on career and job opportunities in the region and at the Port.

The regional meeting of Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) honored organizations and community leaders for significant contributions to education and schools. Hosted by Educational Service District 112, the ceremony recognized honorees for the contributions they make to school districts in the region.

“Mark Wilson and Port of Kalama commissioners have been instrumental in forging a cooperative new direction for district-port relations. Through these efforts, Kalama School District has engaged Port and Cowlitz businesses in the Kalama Days Career Fair promoting career awareness among Kalama students and giving them increased motivation to do well in school,” says Mike Nerland, WASA Honorary Awards Committee Columbia River Region 112. “Your efforts have also helped foster the development of a STEM network in Cowlitz County. We thank you for your support of students and families in Kalama School District and throughout Cowlitz County.”

Industries at the Port of Kalama employ more than 1,000 people with Fortune 500 companies conducting global business and commerce including import/export, manufacturing, marketing, welding and steel work, recycling, trucking and any myriad other commercial and industrial enterprises. They choose Kalama for its ideal location in the heart of the Pacific Northwest on the highway, railroad and river.

“We are delighted to be recognized with this notable award. The Port of Kalama is working hard to develop a closer relationship between the students and faculty of the Kalama Schools and the Port’s business partners on the waterfront. We will continue to offer opportunities to meet members of the business community here and learn about the work we do, as well as career opportunities for students,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We hope to improve the understanding of the business activities here and let students know about the many career opportunities that can be found right here in the community.”

Eric Nerison, Kalama School District Superintendent, left, and Mark Wilson, Executive Director, Port of Kalama, receiving award.,

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Discover! New Industrial Park Building scheduled to open late summer—who are the tenants?

In response to demand for light industrial space at the Port of Kalama, the board of commissioners approved the expansion of Kalama River Industrial Park with a new 120,000 square foot building.  Building design and permitting are expected to be complete for new tenants late summer!

The Port’s industrial buildings were nearing capacity and there is increasing demand from businesses wishing to relocate and expand here—all just 30 minutes north of Portland, Oregon where industrial space is hard to find.  So the Port got to work in order to welcome two new tenants to the new industrial building: introducing Bridger Steel and Marco Industries, both large manufacturing entities that will make a significant contribution to the Port business scene.

“Kalama has experienced consistent growth and demand for light industrial and manufacturing facilities over the last several years—as a result, we are confident this new building will be fully-leased in short order,” says Liz Newman, marketing manager, Port of Kalama. “A mission of the Port is to continue to create economic development, revenue and job opportunities not only for our community but the entire region. We believe we are on a significant growth trajectory to succeed in that objective.”

Bridger Steel

Bridger Steel Inc., a premier metal manufacturer of panel systems for roofing, siding and interior applications, signed a lease with the Port of Kalama for 30,000 square feet of office and warehouse space and another 10,000-square foot covered area for loading trucks. The company serves the US and Canada, as well as Europe and the Pacific Rim. Bridger prides itself on delivering the highest level of service and support to partners and upholding a standard of quality in everything they create.

Marco Industries

Marco Industries,  an industry leader in the manufacture and distribution of quality accessory products for the metal roofing and cladding industry, also signed a lease for 30,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at the Port of Kalama. Marco Industries manufactures and distributes ventilation, closure, fasteners, flashing, underlayment and other accessories for metal roofs and wall systems and expects to hire eight to ten employees in its start-up phase at the Port. Numerous Marco products have been utilized in the construction of the new building.

Next up: Discover! Summer at Port of Kalama

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Port of Kalama amphitheater construction commences

The Port of Kalama next week commences the Amphitheater and Park Improvements Construction Project. The first phase is to create new pathways with lighting and security cameras.

Beginning Monday, May 21, some pathways through Marine Park and Louis Rasmussen Park will be detoured. The intermittent closures are expected to last no more than two weeks. The playground will remain open.

The short-term project includes construction of a small outdoor amphitheater and maintenance at Marine Park including 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

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.

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Moving forward! With exhaustive environmental impact study completed, Port and County finish up with additional greenhouse gas analysis of methanol plant

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.

A recent ruling by Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge James Warning reinstated the Shorelines Permits for the methanol production plant and offered a ruling that provided clarity to what must be studied in a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). The last remaining element of the environmental review process is a further review of the impact of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the project, including a broader evaluation of upstream and downstream emissions.  Once completed, this will wrap a several-year-long comprehensive environmental evaluation.

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is currently underway to review:

  • GHG emissions attributable to project construction;
  • On-site direct GHG emissions from operation of the project;
  • GHG emissions from purchased power;
  • GHG emissions potentially attributed to the project from natural gas production, collection, processing and transmission;
  • GHG emissions from the shipping of methanol product to Asia;
  • GHG emissions associated with changes in the methanol industry and related markets that may be induced by the project’s production.

 

Similar to the original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project, the Port and the County will first present a draft SEIS for public review and comment.  The Port and County will then prepare the final SEIS to respond to comments received.  Publication of the draft SEIS is expected to be later this year.

“We’re very pleased that the Shorelines Permits are reinstated—that’s a very important decision that appropriately narrows and focuses the Shoreline Board’s remand order, consistent with what the law requires,” said Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We appreciate the clarity the judge has provided because it provides the guidance that is needed to get the job done right.  The SEIS is already underway, and we look forward to having a thorough study completed in an expeditious manner.”

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

The Port of Kalama is home to more than 30 companies employing more than 1,000 people. Manufacturing companies, storage facilities, distribution business, exporters, recycling agents, trucking companies and many others make their home in Kalama. They benefit from the Port’s superior customer service and business support. And because of comprehensive planning, we’ve still got room to grow!

“The Port of Kalama is the ideal location for us to expand our business facilities and better serve our customers in the Pacific Northwest,” says Steve Collins, National Sales and Marketing Director, Bridger Steel Inc., a company expanding operations at the Port’s new industrial building opening at the end of the summer. “Kalama’s location and proximity to I-5 will enable us to serve a very large area of the Pacific Northwest very quickly.”

All Port businesses and industries give back to our community. Kalama residents are the 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, recreational facilities, walking paths and a state-of-the-art marina, locals enjoy the bounty without paying a cent in taxes.

For a list of all businesses and industries making their home at Port of Kalama, click here.

Next up: Discover! New Industrial Park Building opens later this summer—who are the tenants?

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