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Category Archives: Port of Kalama News

Port of Kalama Mourns a Longtime Friend, Port Commissioner Alan Basso

Port of Kalama mourns the passing of Port commissioner, Alan Basso, who died Friday, November 27 due to cardiac arrest.  Basso served as a port commissioner since being appointed in 2012 to fill the District #2 vacancy, following longtime Port of Kalama Commissioner, Jim Lucas.

A longtime Kalama resident and steadfast public servant, Basso grew up in Kalama and was a significant part of the fabric of its community. He served as a Lieutenant and Fire Investigator with the Longview Fire Department, substitute teacher for Kalama School District and as a part time Juvenile Detention Officer with the Cowlitz County Juvenile Detention Center.  Basso graduated from Kalama High School in 1980, earned a BA degree at Washington State University in 1986 and received an AAS in Fire Protection Technology from Portland Community College in 2010.

“We will remember Alan for his upbeat personality and tireless service to his community,” says Port of Kalama commission president, Troy Stariha. “Our hearts go out to his family, and all who knew him as a firefighter, teacher, commissioner and friend—Alan will be so dearly missed by all of us here at the Port and the entire community.”

Stariha remembers his colleague as a genuine person and larger-than-life fixture in the community. “Basso was such an important friend and part of the entire community. As a commissioner, he was dedicated to upholding the Port’s values and ensuring its many contributions to the community—he took pride in knowing that he played a part in enhancing the quality of life we enjoy here in Kalama. And he had profound knowledge of Kalama and Port history which helped direct many Port considerations and decisions.”

During Basso’s tenure as commissioner, the Port of Kalama experienced a remarkable period of growth and accomplishments—all of which not only enhanced Kalama’s livability but established the port’s position as an economic development engine and business hub for the region.  Just some of the notable events during Basso’s tenure include:

  • Construction of the Port Office and Interpretive Center
  • McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge
  • Development of Spencer Creek Business Park
  • Marina modernization
  • Development of Haydu Park
  • Construction of two warehouses for Steelscape
  • Construction of a large multitenant warehouse building
  • Remodel of the TEMCO grain elevator

“I can’t imagine Commission meetings without Alan’s smile and dry wit,” says Port Commissioner, Randy Sweet.  “The community, port and schools have lost a great friend, fireman and teacher.”

The administration and commissioners of Cowlitz County Fire District #5 will meet today with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Kalama Professional Firefighters Local 4447, Longview Professional Firefighters Local 828, and the Cowlitz Chaplaincy for memorial remembrance planning.

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Cowlitz Container outgrows current facility at Port of Kalama, expands lease from 10,000 to 35,000 square foot facility

The thriving local company signs three-year lease at Kalama River Industrial Park, adds additional square footage to meet growing demand

Cowlitz Container & Die Cutting, a Pacific Northwest packaging, die cutting and bindery company, has signed a lease for 33,000 square feet of warehouse and an additional 2,129 office space at the Port of Kalama. The 49-year old company, which has been a 10,000 square foot tenant of the Port since 2016, now expands and consolidates its Port leasehold to accommodate growing demand for packaging solutions.

Cowlitz Container opened in 1971 as an upstart die company providing die-cutting services to local businesses in the corrugated and folding carton sectors of packaging. Rapid regional growth influenced further expansion of the packaging business—and with even greater demand today, the company enjoys robust growth serving the market for packaging and shrink-wrapping.

“The Port of Kalama is an ideal location for Cowlitz Container to expand its presence in the Pacific Northwest and to serve a growing customer base in the region because of its proximity to transportation routes and the availability of qualified labor,” says Ralph Clark, Cowlitz Container and Die Cutting. “We cannot say enough about the team at the Port—the staff is so supportive of our business needs and just terrific local partners.”

Cowlitz Container is among a growing number of industries and businesses who have found the Port of Kalama an ideal location to grow their businesses. The Port boasts an Industrial Park with buildings ideal for manufacturing, technology, storage and many other industry sectors. The new Spencer Creek Business Park is ready for mixed-use development on the east side of I-5. Sixteen acres of public riverfront parks stand out as popular recreational destinations for both locals and tourists.  Port officials cite several advantages for businesses like Cowlitz Container to expand operations in Kalama including:

  • No state corporate or personal income taxes
  • Collaborative, business-friendly environment
  • Affordable/competitive rates
  • Accessibility to all modes of transportation
  • Quality buildings, land on river/rail/Interstate
  • Quality of life, slow-paced, beautiful, quiet, hometown feel
  • Proximity to international airport at PDX—just 30 minutes away

 

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Discover! Port of Kalama named third largest bulk exporter on the West Coast, 16th largest in the nation

The Port of Kalama has again been named the third largest bulk exporter on the West Coast right after Los Angeles and Long Beach, California according to the US Census Bureau and USA Trade Online. Handling well over 13 million metric tons of bulk commodities, the Port of Kalama weighs in as one of the West Coast’s largest exporters.

The Columbia River is the third largest grain export gateway in the world, exporting more than 50% of the nation’s wheat. Today, 50 million tons of cargo travel up and down the Columbia River. The Port of Kalama plays a key role in the Northwest’s robust export trade industry.

The Port of Kalama is home to 30 industries employing more than 1,200 people, who choose the Port for its superior customer service and business support.

Honoring 100 years of service to the nation’s booming export business

As they celebrate 100 years of service, the Port of Kalama is no stranger to international trade, commerce and transportation. Port of Kalama enjoys a rich history that weaves through time along waterways, railways and roadways to drive home why transportation and commerce like bulk exports continues to be the community’s mainstay today.

On Monday, December 22, 1919, a group of Kalama residents met at the Kalama Business Men’s Club to discuss the formation of a port district. By May, 1920, the Port of Kalama was born of a local election process.

Today highway, rail and water meet in Kalama at some of the most efficient transportation networks in the country. 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.

Currently, there are 75 public port districts in Washington. Large and small, east and west, Washington’s ports are active in many different areas of economic development, providing jobs and economic stimulation for their communities.

The Port of Kalama is honored to be recognized as such a significant player in the nation’s booming export trade industry.

 

 

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Port of Kalama prepares for demolition of building formerly home to Absolute Concrete Colors

The Port dismantles the building to make way for redevelopment and beautification of the area

The Port of Kalama will demolish the building formerly occupied by Absolute Concrete Colors starting the week of August 17, 2020. The building is located at 1265 N. Hendrickson Drive, just off exit 30.

The building was originally built in 1985 for EZE Products and was most recently home to Absolute Concrete Colors. The building also housed North Star Yachts as a manufacturing facility.

The soil under the building was contaminated with hydrocarbons during its use. Most of the site was cleaned up by the operator that caused the contamination, but the area beneath the building was difficult to treat.  While the levels are modest, they still exceed state standards. Demolition of the building and removal of the concrete floor will allow work to commence on this persistent issue.

“In addition to facilitating the cleanup, this building has served its purpose for industrial tenants and is now obsolete to serve today’s mixed use and light industrial needs,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We are discussing plans for redevelopment and beautification of this entrance to the Port once the site has been restored.”

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With summer in full-swing, please be careful around the water

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 riverfront walking paths, world-class fishing, recreational marina and acres of public parks.

Safety first!

While we urge our guests to enjoy the riverfront amenities, we also remind you to be mindful of the power of the Columbia River—swift currents and steep banks can pose risks to even the strongest of swimmers. So please be careful, watch the kids, and wear life vests.  

We hope you’ll safely enjoy the Port’s parks for:

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

Wishing you a happy and healthy Summer 2020!

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Watch for trains: be safe when heading back to Port parks this summer!

Since Kalama’s humble beginnings, we’ve had a long, rich history with our friends who operate the railroads. The Port was born of its roots as a transportation hub—and the BNSF runs right through our riverfront property.

As you head out for long-awaited summertime festivities, please be aware of the railroad and train traffic. We want you and your family to be safe!

The following track safety tips are brought to you by our friends at BNSF and Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety Education.

Now, enjoy the parks and have a fabulous summer!

Track Safety Basics

  1. Freight trains don’t travel at fixed times, and schedules for passenger trains often change. Always expect a train at each highway-rail intersection at any time.
  2. All train tracks are private property. Never walk on tracks; it’s illegal trespass and highly dangerous.
  3. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile—the length of 18 football fields—to stop. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  4. Trains have the right of way 100% of the timeover emergency vehicles, cars, the police and pedestrians.
  5. A train can extend three feet or more beyond the steel rail, putting the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the three-foot mark. If there are rails on the railroad ties, always assume the track is in use, even if there are weeds or the track looks unused.
  6. Trains can move in either direction at any time.Sometimes its cars are pushed by locomotives instead of being pulled, which is especially true in commuter and light rail passenger service.
  7. Today’s trains are quieter than ever, producing no telltale “clackety-clack.”Any approaching train is always closer, moving faster, than you think.
  8. Remember to cross train tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings, and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.
  9. Stay alert around railroad tracks. Refrain from texting, headphones or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train; never mix rails and recreation.

 

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Remember the 70s? Not Those 70s! The 1870s!

Remember the 70s?

No, not those 70s. The 1870s!

That’s when Kalama started to become a transportation hub inspired by nationwide railroad construction.

One auspicious visitor to come to Kalama by train called out the region’s potential.

Teddy Roosevelt foretold the success of the yet-to-be established Port of Kalama in a 1903 speech,  “I realize as every thinking man must the wonderful future that lies before this state, for it is one in which in its future development is going to show as great and varied industrial growth as New York or Pennsylvania.”

Right on, Kalama! And look at you now!

Check out our entertaining new video in our series of throwback history lessons on the Port!

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Anchorage Launch Services signs lease for new commercial dock space at Port of Kalama

Port of Kalama announced today that Anchorage Launch Services has signed a contract to lease the Port’s new commercial dock and operate their maritime transportation services. The new tenant will use the dock as its Anchorage Launch Services Terminal to provide light cargo and commercial passenger services to the maritime shipping industry on the Columbia River from Astoria to Portland/Vancouver—and everywhere in between. Anchorage Launch Services delivers supplies, goods and products to ships to keep their operations moving efficiently.

“There is not a facility like the Port of Kalama’s commercial wharf on the entire Columbia River—this exceptional centrally-located facility includes a crane and forklift to keep us operating 24/7, 365 days a year and that enables us to serve ships more efficiently than ever,” says Alex Scott, chief operating officer, Anchorage Launch Services. “This new facility and home for our operations raises the bar on what we can offer our clients—our new terminal will save untold amounts of time and dollars for the maritime industry. This could not be a better location to serve commerce on the entire river.”

The Port modified and refurbished components of a barge to develop the long-planned commercial dock last year and prepare for a maritime client including furnishing and installing bulkheads, bullrails, fenders, ladders, new spud piles and a gangway landing platform.

“We are incredibly excited to have a maritime service provider like Anchorage Launch Services serving clients from our new commercial wharf,” says Troy Stariha, president, Port of Kalama Board of Commissioners. “Not only will their presence here better serve our visiting commercial ships—and those at ports along the Columbia River—but the growing business will add local jobs and contribute to the local economy as operations get underway. We are delighted they have chosen the Port of Kalama to call home.”

The Port of Kalama is located in Southwest Washington just off I-5 on the Columbia River. It boasts an industrial area that includes five miles of riverfront property adjacent to the 43′ federally-maintained deep draft navigation channel. There are over 30 businesses located at the Port of Kalama, employing over 1,200 people. The port offers industrial sites, Industrial Park, new Business Park and state of the art Marine Terminals just 30-minutes from Portland International Airport.

 

 

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Update on damage to the Port of Kalama Marina

We confirmed that the damage to the Port of Kalama marina was caused by a swell and then a suction of the water from a cargo vessel which seriously impacted the marina structures.  We believe the cargo vessel was passing in the river channel at an excessive speed.

After reviewing the Port’s security video and Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking information, we believe the excessive wake was caused by the SM MUMBAI. Further investigation will be ongoing.

The Port security camera captured video of the wake / wave impacting the marina, which occurred at around 4a and can be viewed here.

Thank you so much to the community and our marina patrons for your patience and support as we navigate this situation. We’ll get through this together!

Marina patrons can direct questions and their insurance agents to Mr. James McCurdy, of Lindsay Hart, who is representing the SM MUMBAI vessel operator at jmccurdy@lindsayhart.com.

For more information, the Port of Kalama contact is Eric Yakovich, who can be reached at 360-673-2337 and EYakovich@PortofKalama.com.

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Port of Kalama marina damaged early this morning

In the early hours this morning, an incident occurred at the Port of Kalama marina. The facility and docks as well as many of the boats moored there were damaged during the incident.

We are not exactly clear yet what happened, but the event is under investigation to determine the cause. The Port estimates in excess of $1 million in damage and is notifying boat owners of the impact. The Port is also working closely with authorities, insurance providers and other professionals to mitigate the impact of this event.

We will keep you all apprised as we learn more details. The Port recently invested in a $4.5 million upgrade and renovation at the marina. The impact, damage and loss to that facility is now under investigation, though vandalism has been ruled out.

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