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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 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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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.

Yum!

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

Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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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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Just a friendly reminder…….

The SP&S Locomotive comes home!

While we are thrilled to welcome the historic SP&S Locomotive home to the Port of Kalama Interpretive Center, we’ll have to postpone visitation and public traffic here for now. We’ll celebrate the grand arrival once the Interpretive Center and our facilities open again to the public. Check out the article in TDN about the arrival of this beauty!

Centennial Event Cancellation

The Port of Kalama Centennial Celebration Launch that was initially scheduled at the Interpretive Center for Friday, April 24, 2020 has also been cancelled. But we hope you’ll mark your calendars for our 100th Birthday Festivities in Marine Park on Saturday, July 25, 2020. We’ll all be ready to celebrate!

Closures

The Port of Kalama offices, facilities and the Interpretive Center remain closed for the safety of the community. Port parks remain open for your enjoyment but please practice safe social-distancing and cleanly practices in public places.

Port staff are maintaining operations through a combination of social-distancing and remote work from home—and we’re here to answer any questions you may have. Call us anytime between 8a and 5p at 360-673-2325 or email us at POK@PortofKalama.com.

The Port will communicate updates as they become available.

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Discover 100! A rich history, a unique location

Port of Kalama enjoys a rich history that weaves through time along waterways, railways and roadways to drive home why transportation continues to be the community’s mainstay today.

The Columbia River attracted a steady stream of settlers like namesake Hawaiian John Kalama who arrived in Kalama in 1837 to act as a middleman between local Cowlitz Tribe and the Hudson Bay Company.

When Kalama first wandered into the locale that now bears his name, he was struck by its beauty. Gentle green slopes ran down to the deep, massive Columbia River slicing its way through the valley.

In 1870, the Irish and Chinese arrived to work on the railroad. The Scandinavians with interests in fishing and logging settled in Kalama as well.

Progress continued; and 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. Much of what made Kalama replete and thriving in the past, still holds true today. Kalama remains an ideal place to do business and an enviable quality of life.

Check out this entertaining video to learn more!

We love it here! Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!

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Discover 100! Our humble beginnings and the railroad that put Kalama on the map

Imagine. The 1870s in Kalama. Way back when the Northern Pacific Railroad was constructed between Tacoma and our humble town. That one bold development is what really put Kalama on the map.

Early developers purchased 700 acres here in Kalama and broke ground for the terminus of the new railroad in May 1870. And just like that—the population started to grow with employees of the railroad operations.

Kalama’s population swelled to 3,500 with the railroad building a dock, a sawmill, a car shop, a roundhouse, a turntable, hotels, a hospital, stores, and homes. Soon added to the burgeoning town of Kalama were, of course, saloons, a brewery, and a gambling hall! And the naturally deep segment of river meant sailing vessels could reliably reach Kalama adding to the commerce.

The 1870s are also when trains floated on the Columbia River!

After the Civil War railroads knit the country together, laying tracks at a furious pace but those tracks stopped at the edge of the Columbia River—right here in Kalama.

For 25 years, from 1883 to 1909, the train was ferried across the river by the world’s 2nd largest ferry at that time – the Tacoma – which could transport either 12 passenger cars or 27 freight cars across the Columbia River from Kalama to Goble, Oregon.

And the beloved Minnetonka was the little engine that could pull that big train on and off the ferry.

One auspicious visitor to float across the Columbia by train immediately saw the potential of the region. 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.”

And now look at you now, Port of Kalama! Happy 100th years of progress!

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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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