The Port of Astoria, the agency tasked with maintaining a public infrastructure for local businesses and citizens, is getting it from all sides.
Crumbling docks, storm damage and toughening environmental requirements have the agency needing millions of dollars to fix its problems. Executive Director Jim Knight is looking at all different avenues to find the funds.
His staff is tallying up the damage from late-winter storms in hopes of relief from the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Meanwhile, Knight has been speaking with Chris Cummings, new director of the Infrastructure Finance Authority, a lending arm of the state Business Development Department (Business Oregon) that has loaned the port nearly $20 million since the 2000s to expand and repair the agency’s infrastructure.
“We’re well over $10 million in claims with FEMA at this point,” Knight said, adding his staff would soon have a better idea of the costs.
Knight said FEMA could fund many of the port’s repairs from storm damage. But the port, he said, still faces upward $1 million to install stormwater collection and treatment systems on the central waterfront and at North Tongue Point after the agency experienced isolated hits of copper runoff above environmentally accepted limits.
Then comes repairing the docks on the eastern edge of Pier 2, which state engineers recently said should be put under a 3-ton weight limit by April and closed by July if not repaired. The Port Commission recently authorized staff to spend up to $350,000 repairing the pier enough to keep refrigerated truck traffic moving to and from the fish processors on the pier.