By Kiera Morgan
Aaron Bretz the Port of Newport Director of Operations reported to the Port Commission last week identified the Economic Development Administration’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance program identified a 50% funding opportunity for the Port Dock 5 Pier Project.
This is a shovel ready project that neatly fits the criteria for funding. The floating Port Dock 5 complex is a dilapidated wooden pier. The cores of the wooden pilings supporting the Port Dock 5 Pier have rotted away; many of those pilings are now hollow, and the pier is in danger of failing.
Bretz said he has received several letters of support for the project. "So far I have received eighteen to twenty letters of support for the project. If we can get those in quick enough we could go ahead and do a pre-application, which will get the ball rolling a little sooner". Bretz added that support from State and Federal legislators is vital and it would greatly increase the chances for funding of the project.
He pointed out that the businesses that exist at Port Dock 5 are a vital component to the regional and state economy and the pier is essential to the success and growth of those businesses. The Oregon Employment Department reports that Newport accounted for an annual average of more than 300 commercial fishing jobs directly, with a high of 500 jobs in July.
As a result of the structural degradation of the pier, access to the floating Port Dock 5 complex has been restricted; if the pier is not rebuilt, those restrictions will continue to become more severe, in an attempt to prevent failure of the structure. The Port has had to turn away 14 new businesses in the past year due to lack of space and failing infrastructure, which in turn diminishes the Port’s opportunity to generate new revenue.