Port of Newport Commission Says No To Shipping Deal

By Kiera Morgan:

During the noon work session meeting yesterday Port of Newport commissioners discussed the International terminal. Commissioner Jeff Lakey suggested that the port should no longer consider the current agreements from Silvan and Teevin for shipping. Commissioner Chuck said the port needs to consider all of the consequences of their actions. He said the port has other agreements with other entities and expressed concern over potentially loosing the Federal TIGER grant, which interim manager Aaron Bretz cautioned from a memo in his report.

It was pointed out that loosing the grant would potentially hurt not just the port, but the city, county and the state. Commission President Patricia Joling stated she felt this was a bad deal financially for the port. “As far as the political outfall I don’t buy it. Cities, Ports loose grants and subsidies all the time. It’s ebb and flow it comes and goes.” Joline added “If we can’t put this deal together because our numbers are wonky, we don’t have our shareholders adequately represented and a host of other situations then maybe we should pass on it.”

Commissioner Sara Skamser also said she didn’t like the deal and felt it wasn’t good for the fishermen and current users. Commissioner Stewart Lamerdin said there are a lot of implications. “We may never get a perfect deal, but I think we owe it to the public to further investigate this and see if they (Silvan) are willing to make the changes that we need them to.” He also expressed concerns that the port would not be honoring the deal they made with the public to provide shipping as part of the approval of the GEO bonds.

During the regular evening meeting commissioner Lakey commented on the GEO bond and read from the voters pamphlet explanatory statement saying the commissioners agreed when they went out for the bond that it would be used for three primary things; mitigate hazardous substances; to put in work docks for cargo barges and commercial fishing, to keep the fishing fleet coming here. and third was to fix the cargo dock and rebuild it so shipping can return to Newport.

He said “the current deal on the table potentially violates the promises made for the bond, if the port doesn’t keep the commercial fleet returning.” Lackey added  the current deal is an economic risk. He made a motion that was seconded by Sara Skamser that the port reject three of the current agreements with Silvan and Teevin. This passed three to two with commissioners Lamerdin and Chuck opposed. You can hear the complete details of the noon and regular meeting under port news.