A company that builds commercial fishing boats in Reedsport netted a $3.4 million grant from the state this month, positioning itself to expand its workforce by 50 percent in the coming years.
Fred Wahl Marine Construction, currently the biggest private employer in the coastal city, won the grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation and its ConnectOregon program. Its award was the second highest monetary award after an $8.3 million grant given to Union Pacific for railroad improvements.
The award allows the company to begin work on a nine-story facility on Bolon Island, between Reedsport and Gardiner. The new building will be designed to be large enough to take on a bigger workload. The new facility would also take shipbuilding and repair work out of the rain when necessary. The company recently bought a six-story, 200-ton lift to haul boats out of the water and carry them into the proposed building. Once it’s completed, the company expects its roster of 91 employees to grow to about 130.