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Category Archives: Press Releases

Port of Kalama closes offices, facilities, interpretive center to public in accordance with state mandates

As part of statewide effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19, the Port limits meetings, asks staff to work remotely while it maintains operations

In accordance with a recent statement by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, the Port of Kalama has closed its administrative office, facilities, and Interpretive Center to the public. Port staff are maintaining operations through a combination of social distancing and remote work from home.

The Port will communicate updates as they become available.

CONTACT: Port of Kalama 8a-5p 360-673-2325 or email POK@PortofKalama.com.

From a press release from the office of Governor Inslee:

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement tonight that further expands protections against COVID-19. 

“Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation tomorrow to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities.

“Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted.

“The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy.

“Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.

“Tonight, after consultations with me and with the Department of Health, King County announced that they will be taking these actions immediately. King County has been the hotbed of this outbreak and has the largest population center in the state. I have spoken to Executive Dow Constantine and I applaud their decision to act quickly. We will do a joint media announcement with more details tomorrow morning.”

 

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Port of Kalama commissioners move to accept City of Longview’s Chief Lelooska totem pole for restoration, relocation to Kalama

The City of Longview recently approved the deaccessioning of the Lelooska Campfire Totem Pole for removal from its current location on Commerce Avenue for restoration and relocation to the Port of Kalama. Much like the Port of Kalama’s iconic Lelooska Totem Poles, the Longview artifact is also in need of repair.

The City of Longview initially reached out to the Lelooska Foundation for assistance in the repair and restoration of the weathered pole. Because the Foundation was already working with the Port of Kalama on their own totem pole restorations, when they heard that Longview would be removing the pole and unable to restore it, they suggested the city approach the Port regarding adding the Longview pole to their collection for restoration and ongoing maintenance.

All entities agreed that the best way to provide public access to this totem pole would be for the city to deaccession the totem pole for transport to the Foundation for restoration funded by the Port of Kalama and then on to the Port as a permanent new home.

The Longview totem pole was carved by Chief Lelooska for the Camp Fire USA Lower Columbia Council and was sculpted from western red cedar and is about 30 feet tall and 2’11” in diameter. It commemorates the Camp Fire Council in the Longview community and was first displayed in the spring of 1961.

“We are pleased to add the Camp Fire Totem Poles to our collection of these iconic and very popular artifacts—thank you to the City of Longview and the Lelooska Foundation for entrusting us with restoration, maintenance and creating a new home for the piece,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “We are pleased to place them together on the waterfront for everyone to enjoy.”

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Port of Kalama approves resolution to support dams in the Columbia / Snake River System

The Port of Kalama has approved  a resolution to fully support dams in the Federal Columbia-Snake River System. The resolution will be submitted to the Washington State Legislature.  The Port of Kalama supports the continued operation of the dams within the Federal Columbia-Snake River System due to their importance to irrigation; flood control; recreation; fuel-efficient, safe, low-emission cargo transportation;  and the reliability of the Northwest electric grid which provides carbon-free, renewable, reliable, and low-cost energy making them an important component of a clean energy future.

Citing the need for a strong working river system throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Port commission strongly supports the dams stating:

The dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers provide navigable waters to sustain the region’s marine-dependent economy, irrigation, flood control and recreation for the residents of Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

The Port of Kalama handles cargo shipped on the Federal Columbia-Snake River System and exports that cargo globally.

The Lower Snake River Dams enable irrigation for over 7 million acres of farmland producing $8 billion in agricultural income; and

The Lower Snake River Dams enabled barging of approximately 9 million tons of cargo in 2014 valued at over $3 billion.

The Federal Columbia-Snake River System is the top wheat export gateway in the U.S. handling over half of the country’s exported wheat from 11 U.S. states, is the second most important export system in the U.S. for corn and soybeans, and is the west coast’s largest export system for wood products and minerals.

In addition, the Lower Snake River Dams are some of the least expensive to operate and, with the cost of power generated by the dams ranging from $10 to $14 per megawatt-hour, provide some of the greatest value for BPA customers; and

Based on studies and BiOps carried out by NOAA Fisheries, the Commission endorses the position that hydroelectric dams and salmon can coexist.

Given that the CRSO EIS process is well-underway and expected to be concluded in 2020, the Commission believes the $750,000 allocated to study the impacts of the removal of the Lower Snake River Dams to be duplicative and should have been allocated to science-based, high-priority salmon restoration projects, increased hatchery production and law enforcement activities in the Puget Sound region that will have a direct impact on Orca survival in their primary habitat.

For more information: https://www.snakeriverfaces.com/facts

And check out this informational video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku2bdXHxsZk

 

Kalama Snake River dam resolution Port of Kalama Resolution 1099

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Port of Kalama honored with award for river safety, environmental stewardship

Congratulations, Port of Kalama! The Maritime Fire and Safety Association today presented the Port of Kalama a MFSA Partnership Award. An important partner for the Port, MFSA is the leading provider and advocate of safe, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective response services to commercial vessels in the Columbia Willamette River Marine Transportation System.

The Port of Kalama is honored to be an active member of the MFSA and we so appreciate being honored for our own commitment to river safety, environmental stewardship and service to our visiting commercial vessels. Thank you!

Port of Kalama recently participated in the 2019 4th Quarter Training Exercise in Kalama which was organized by the Kalama Fire District No 5, hosted by TEMCO LLC, and other local industry leaders such as Steelscape LLC, Kalama Export LLC, and Emerald Kalama Chemical participated.

Thank you to Kalama Fire District No 5 Chief Victor Leatzow for the picture of Port of Kalama Commissioner Randy Sweet accepting the award.

In case you wondered………

Here’s a little history on the Maritime Fire and Safety Association. The following timeline of events and establishments brought the MFSA to what it is today:

1982 – Protector Alpha fire in Kalama, Washington on the Columbia River.
1984 – The Lower Columbia Maritime Fire Safety Plan was developed.
1986 – The Fire Protection Agencies Advisory Council (FPAAC) was formed.

FPAAC was formed to set forth a comprehensive system to ensure effective response shipboard fires in the Lower Columbia Region, and then purchased and delivered the first specialized equipment to participating fire agencies for fighting shipboard fires. The FPAAC is currently comprised of 13 fire agencies located throughout the river system. These agencies voluntarily contribute both staff time and equipment costs for participation in meetings, drills and other training exercises.

Realizing the importance of maintaining a stable funding source, the MFSA Membership approved a per vessel assessment, which is collected from all ocean-going vessels that call at a member’s dock. This funding goes towards the purchase of specialized marine firefighting equipment and provides for the ongoing training and education of member fire agencies in the response to vessel emergencies.

In 1991, the Lower Columbia Maritime Fire Safety Plan was revised to include oil spill response and preparedness which brought the development of MFSA Umbrella Oil Spill Contingency Plan (now the MFSA Vessel Response Plan or “the Plan”) in the beginning of 1991.

1990 – Passage of the Oil Pollution Act in direct response to the Exxon Valdez spill.

1992 – The MFSA and Clean Rivers Cooperative, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement.

This agreement allowed MFSA to designate Clean Rivers Cooperative response equipment and resources in the Plan. Clean Rivers Cooperative serves as the state approved Primary Response Contractor (PRC) to MFSA and provides oil spill coverage for its own membership’s facility response plans in addition to the vessels MFSA provides coverage.

1993 – The contingency plan received approval from Oregon DEQ and the Washington Office of Marine Safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Port of Kalama Commissioner Randy Sweet accepts the award for river safety, environmental stewardship and service to maritime commerce at the Port of Kalama.

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Port of Kalama’s Spencer Creek Business Park is now available for development

The 70-acre mixed-use commercial property is located just off I-5 in Kalama and is ready to lease property to commercial businesses

The Port of Kalama this week announces that the Spencer Creek Business Park is now available for development and lease. Located north of Kalama River Road right off of Interstate 5, the much-anticipated Business Park offers 70 acres of developable commercial property that will support a mix of light industrial and commercial ventures including:

• Lodging/Hospitality
• Services
• Retail
• Food/Beverage
• Convenience
• Gas Station
• More

Since 2014, the Port has invested in the preliminary infrastructure and construction of the site including filling and grading, installation of storm water treatment systems, and road improvements to make way for new commercial development. While East Port will be built out over 20 years, business park construction and operational activities are projected to support more than 1,000 jobs and millions of dollars in new local economic activity.

“Maybe one of the region’s best kept secrets, this Port of Kalama commercial property, offers some of the best value and opportunity for businesses interested in affordability, accessibility and infrastructure-rich land on which to grow,” says Ted Sprague, president, Cowlitz Economic Development Council. “Spencer Creek Business Park offers an A+ location right off of I-5 with infrastructure in place for businesses looking to serve a well-trafficked stretch of the corridor. And best of all, developers get a long-term, committed, visionary and innovative partner in the Port of Kalama.”

The City of Kalama and the Port together earned the 2014 Governor’s Smart Communities Award for their collaboration on planning the multi-use business property which is expected to boost the region’s available commercial property, economy and job opportunities while strengthening the city’s revenue base.

“We fully expect the development of Spencer Creek Business Park to attract new businesses to the region and provide more family wage jobs here,” said the president of the Port of Kalama Commissioner Troy Stariha. “Not only are we expanding recreational and employment opportunities for the region, we’re offering first-rate facilities that will draw visitors and investment from throughout our region and beyond.”

Interested developers and businesses should contact Liz Newman, marketing manager, Port of Kalama, 360-673-2379.

For more information on available properties, click here. 

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PORT TAKES LEGAL ACTION TO COMPEL TIMELY REVIEW OF KALAMA METHANOL PROJECT

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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