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Category Archives: Discover! Port of Kalama

Look how far you’ve grown, Port of Kalama!

As we celebrate 100 years at the Port of Kalama, let’s honor the visionaries before us. Their thoughtful planning and preparation brought us the success we now share.

We gratefully carry their dreams forward in ways that will benefit the entire region for decades to come. This vision brings with it thousands of jobs, economic vitality, support for our community—and opportunities for all who live here in Cowlitz County.

Kalama is our home. Like you, we are stewards of the land and responsible for preserving its incredible natural beauty.

To continued success for our prosperous and beautiful community—cheers!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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It’s the place to be!

Look how far you’ve grown, Port of Kalama!

The 1990s exploded with infrastructure improvements that continue to attract new businesses and critical manufacturing facilities.

The arrival of the Australian company BHP Steel in the mid-90s—now called SteelScape—became the anchor for a new, local steel sector attracting other steel businesses to Kalama.

Next, a huge expansion, the Kalama River Industrial Park opened in 2000, ushering in the Port’s construction of 6 new buildings—an investment that reeled in even MORE light industrial tenants, including a glass bottle manufacturer.

The Port’s nurturing of industry and investment in infrastructure is a significant example of how it fulfills its core mission—to use capital investment for economic development, create jobs for the people of Kalama and recreational amenities for the community.

Check out our new video! 

Way to pay it forward! Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Let’s play!

What doesn’t Kalama have?

Thanks to the Port of Kalama this beautiful stretch of the Columbia River is a playground for the community and tourists alike.

Iconic totem poles have beckoned travelers on I-5 to Kalama’s riverfront Marine Park for decades. Its bike paths and beaches signaled the Port’s new era of recreational development when it opened in 1974.

A few years later the Marina opened. Now with over 200 slips and state-of-the-art facilities the marina is a hub for leisure activity.

The Port continues its mission to develop outdoor venues for playtime and entertainment—and last year they even opened the Westin Amphitheater for concerts and other public events.

When it comes to recreation, Kalama’s got it all.

Thank you, Port of Kalama! Happy Centennial!

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If you build it, they will come.

If you build it, they will come. And come they did. Grains. Down the river, through Kalama and out to feed the world.

The Port of Kalama’s grain elevator was the accomplishment of Port Manager Ed Hendrickson. His new framework for business at the Port of Kalama would build facilities and lease them out to private industry. Brilliant! Hendrickson led the Port for 23 years, from 1950.

‘Where river, rail and road meet’ was a great slogan and good for business at the Port of Kalama.

Hendrickson shaped much of the waterfront, laying groundwork for the Port’s marina and spearheading the development of Marine Park. His successes provided revenue for future economic development. 

Check out the video!

And look at you now!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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All hail the USS Oregon!

The USS Oregon—of her many heroic feats, pulling Kalama out from the Great Depression is a local triumph.

After serving in several major wars, the Oregon came out of retirement when iron was needed for WWII.  She was towed to the Port of Kalama in March 1943 to be salvaged.

That launched a flurry of robust economic activity as workers were hired to break down the ship and repurpose its parts.

It was a boon for Kalama, patriotic and profitable—and you’re still going strong!

Check out our entertaining video on the USS Oregon!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Vroom! Vroom!

The post Depression era found Kalama in a great position to prosper, due to the planning of its leaders in forming the Port.

The Port of Kalama stood ready to rev up the local economy with help from Federal New Deal Programs of the 1930s.

Completion of the Bonneville Dam in 1937 by the Army Corps of Engineers brought clean, low-cost hydroelectric power to the region and also mitigated the Columbia River flooding. Bonus!

Stability for the Port of Kalama attracted new industries, such as grain, and chemical companies in addition to wood products. Many of the businesses attracted from the 40s to the 60s remain important tenants of the Port today—thank you, TEMCO, RSG Gram, and Emerald Kalama!

One hundred years later, you’re better than ever.

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Port of Kalama is born!

Quite the Renaissance man, Kalama resident Hite Imus not only led the move to create the Port of Kalama but served as the city’s first mayor, county clerk, prosecuting attorney, and ran the Land Office. He also founded, owned and wrote the editorial page for the Kalama Bulletin for 40 years. Whew!

Imus, along with civic leaders JG Gruver and FL Jenkins, put their plan for an economic engine into action and the Port of Kalama was inaugurated in April 1920, with 600 waterfront acres and a commercial dock that served maritime industries.

Check out this entertaining video! 

100 years later you’re still going strong!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Go with the flow!

Dredging—the process keeps Kalama’s deep draft port navigable and has provided clean recreational beaches.

It all began in 1914, when the Columbia River in Kalama was deepened.

While Kalama’s fishing and lumber industries thrived at that time, without a large public dock it could not accommodate a visit by big ships.

A light bulb popped as civic leaders began to envision an economic engine in Kalama that could get a piece of that action and improve the lives of the community.

This nugget of inspiration one hundred years ago grew into today’s Port of Kalama.

Watch the video here.

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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When timber was king.

Timber was king in the early days of Kalama.

The railroad needed wood for fuel and track ties. And the Gold Rush demanded plenty to shore up mines and also build out towns that sprouted to house those seeking fortunes in silver and gold.

In 1907, The Mountain Timber Company was born on the banks of Kalama.

Timber laid the tracks for the railway and the railway laid tracks for the eventual Port of Kalama.

Enjoy this entertaining video celebrating when Timber was King in Kalama!

 Happy 100th birthday, Port of Kalama!

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Fish On!

Something fishy happened where the Port of Kalama sits today.

The Doty Fish Company was hatched in 1895.

Built right on the Columbia River, fishermen could unload their catch directly to the processing plant taking advantage of the deep-water port—a feature the Port of Kalama capitalizes on to this day.

Through the intersection of the river and rail, the world got a taste of Pacific salmon.


We hope you’ll enjoy this entertaining video celebrating our 100th birthday!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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