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Port of Astoria I In the News
The Conference Center is no longer a viable option, so the Port of Astoria commission has directed executive director Jack Crider to proceed with the improvements.
The meeting began with a closed ...
The meeting began with a closed session performance review of District CEO Jack Crider, whom the Commission rated highly and voted unanimously to support.
Crider, who previously served as executive director of the Port of Astoria, Ore., said at the meeting that he sees great potential for cruise ship tourism in the area, but the community must be organized to take full advantage.
has provided funds for the project, which the district will use to purchase its own dredge, something that Crider
has long prioritized.
Crider also suggested at the meeting some revisions to staff job classification descriptions, including changing his title to executive director, the addition of an assistant executive director and the consolidation and name change of some other positions.
Harbor District CEO Jack ...
Harbor District CEO Jack Crider described the district's "projects and priorities" at a May 29 lunch event at the Samoa Cookhouse.
The most ambitious of them is the purchase and renovation of the former pulp mill on the Samoa Peninsula into an aquaculture facility, water treatment plant and a multi-purpose dock.
The purchase is under negotiation with the mill's owner, Freshwater Tissue Company
, and several goals could be fulfilled if the deal goes through.
"Does this fit my perfect mold - it does," said Crider
, adding that the mill property's location near the mouth of Humboldt Bay and ample warehouse space makes it an ideal spot for a public dock that could accommodate shippers.
The downside is the presence of above-ground chemicals left over from pulp operations, which would have to be removed.
described that a "big challenge" but he
said dock development could spark new shipping activity in the county's under-utilized port.
The event was sponsored by the Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group
, which supports establishment of a port-railroad infrastructure link.
During a question and answer session, Crider
was asked about the viability of increasing shipping without a railroad connection.
Focusing on exports, Crider
reversed the query's premise, saying that "we're sitting right in the middle of a giant wood basket" and that "if I just had a good dock and some upland property, I know people that are wanting to come here."
experience with railroads as director of Oregon's Port of Astoria
told the audience he's
seen "massive washouts, massive winters" and "hundreds of derailments.
Developing and maintaining railroads is difficult, he
continued, but "right now, a dock is something we can get our hands around, it's something that we have enough political capital to acquire."
Building an east-west railroad connection to a cross-country line in the Redding area is a controversial proposal supported by the working group but it's intensely questioned by skeptics.
The district is using $19,000 of a larger transportation access grant from CalTrans to assess the feasibility of a variety of railroad options.
Asked about tandem port/railroad development, Crider
re-emphasized that dock development is a more realistic priority and has to be done to create a market for railroad investment.
said that he's
travelled to Asia to solicit shipping customers and has found that "they're interested in Humboldt County" after viewing its timberlands and mill facilities on Google Earth.
"Then they start asking about facilities - basically docking facilities," he
"And that's when I say, 'Well, we have this and this and this, but they're not ready yet.'"
Dock development is financially viable, Crider
"The market is there and for $20 million, I could create something that would actually demonstrate the viability of the wood products industry here," he
Doing that could "stimulate the need for rail," Crider
"I've never been able to find someone who pops out and says, 'Yeah, we'll invest $1 billion to rebuild the rail' - there's got to be some market-driven need to do that to cover the debt service and operation cost."
Local production of export products like wood chips would have to be increased, Crider
said, adding, "The trees are there."
Although dock-railroad issues dominated the question and answer session, Crider
had also talked about establishing an aquaculture facility at the pulp mill site, upgrading the district's Redwood Marine Terminal into a "commercial fishing support center" and buying dredging equipment that could be leased to private dock owners and the City of Eureka.
The district's need for income-enhancement is acute.
In an interview after the meeting, Crider
said that dredging costs, debt service and bar pilot fees have led to a $3 million loss in the district's harbor account since 2001.
Marina expenses amount to $200,000 to $300,000 a year and significant rate increases will be implemented, which Crider
expects will be very controversial among commercial fishermen.
The Coastwatch Blog By Tom Freel on ignOregon.com - Oregon Blog Aggregator -
Jack Crider gets a big smile on his face when he talks about his new job.
For the last four years Jack has served as Executive Director of the Port of Astoria and May 1st he moves on to become Chief Executive Officer of the Humboldt Bay Port Authority.
He had mentioned to me last month
Humboldt Bay Harbor District ...
Humboldt Bay Harbor District CEO Jack Crider knows The World -- and the cruise business -- better than most in town, having come to Humboldt from Astoria, Ore., where he served as the executive director of the Port of Astoria, which boasts a thriving cruise industry.
"It's not a normal cruise ship," Crider
said with a chuckle.
"It's more like a very luxury hotel."
, Hockaday, the city of Eureka, the Wiyot Tribe and a host of other groups are working to make sure all is in line for The World's arrival.
In Eureka, Crider
sees a jewel of cruise potential if only a docking facility that could accommodate 960-foot ships were built near Old Town.
The ideal for cruise ships, Crider
said, is a place where a ship can dock and unload its passengers directly into a commercial district without any ferrying or busing needed.
Astoria didn't have that, he
said, but Eureka could.
"It's an ideal location," Crider
having just joined the district this month, it seems the effort might be ripe for a rekindling.