By Kiera Morgan
Port of Newport General Manager Kevin Greenwood told the Port Board of Commissioners that they are out of the running for funding from the Connect Oregon Grant in this cycle. He said they are going to continue to work with the state representatives and work with the consultants regarding the port terminal staging area and are looking to see if other state or Federal funding might be available. According to Greenwood the project was hurt by the Hampton Affiliates who have mills in Warrenton, Tillamook and Willamina.
He said “they did an effective job of wrongly classifying the port’s project as one that would export jobs instead of creating them locally.” This is not the case Greenwood said as the staging project would create jobs along the coast. “This is a job creator for not just Newport but for the whole central Oregon Coast. This would utilize a small percentage of the forest inventory within 50-miles of Newport and it would create the potential for other products to be shipped out from Newport including finished lumber products and recyclable paper products.”
Greenwood added “now we need to work hard to counter the negative and incorrect information that Hampton Affiliates has been saying about the project.” Greenwood told the port commissioners that not being able to move forward will have long term ramifications for the port. He said “the money that would come in from having the staging area and the shipping tied to it would go to help to make much needed repairs to the fishing docks and other Port infrastructure.”
The port is now working with the Federal Economic Development Administration and they have about a 50/50 chance of getting some additional federal funding needed to complete the project, which will still require and non-federal match of 2-million to complete. Greenwood added they are not giving up on the project, but not receiving the funding has been a setback.