SEPTEMBER 21, 2016



Grant to help lower sewer rates

Jessie Stensland, September 21, 2016, Whidbey News-Times

A $1-million grant from Island County should further help Oak Harbor keep sewage rates under control.

Still, residents will continue to see a sizable increase in their rates over the next five years to pay for the new sewage treatment plant that’s being built downtown.

Last week, the Island County commissioners awarded grants from the Rural Counties Economic Development fund. County Budget Director Elaine Marlow explained that the money is a sales tax rebate from the state that’s supposed to be earmarked for economic development projects.

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 Vital port funds OK’d by U.S. Senate

Matt Winters, September 20, 2016, Chinook Observer

Small ports cut off from deep water and fishing communities deprived of an economic lifeline: This serious risk was a distinct possibility a handful of years ago, but now is close to a permanent fix thanks to action last week by the U.S. Senate.

Vital to coastal areas nationwide but lacking in political muscle, ports including those in Chinook and Ilwaco once relied on occasional congressional budget earmarks to pay for routine navigation-channel maintenance. With the end of the earmark system in 2010, this tenuous financing ended. The clock began ticking toward a time when access channels would become impassible for commercial fishing vessels and U.S. Coast Guard boats.

Now, with only three senators opposed, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a permanent 10 percent set-aside from the multi-billion dollar Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for small ports and harbors. Approval also is expected in the U.S. House and by the president.

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Bitter end for Patrol No. 1:  Crushed in boatyard

Libby Wennstrom, September 21, 2016, PT

Former Seattle Harbor Patrol vessel Patrol No. 1 reached the end of the line last week. The 102-year-old wooden boat was demolished by the Port of Port Townsend following a nine-month legal battle with its owner, Marc Landry.

Although it was known the port planned to demolish the vessel – as it has done with other craft declared derelict and/or abandoned – staff had been instructed to keep the exact schedule a secret. The port issued a public statement Sept. 15 once demolition was substantially complete.

At about 8:30 a.m. last Thursday, Port Townsend police came to Sunrise Coffee, located on port property near where Patrol No. 1 was stored, at the request of Sam Gibboney, port executive director.

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Northwest Seaport Alliance posts flat container volumes

Eric Kulisch, September 20, 1016, American Shipper

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, consisting of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma, reported that container volumes remained flat in August compared to August 2015, continuing the trend for their year-to date-container volumes.

During the month, the port partners handled 313,811 TEUs, a 0.6 percent increase from August 2015. Since the start of 2016, container volumes have dipped less than 1 percent year-over-year to 2.32 million TEUs.

For the first eight months of the year, loaded imports ticked up 3 percent to 879,435 TEUs, while exports jumped 13 percent to 625,523 TEUs. Empty containers fell nearly 22 percent for the first eight months of the year, while domestic volumes slipped 3 percent.

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Port commissioners hear concerns, support for military cargo at hearing

Rolf Boone, September 19, 2016, The Olympian

More than 30 people shared their views about the possibility of military cargo passing through the Port of Olympia during a community listening session held Monday in Tumwater.

The meeting, organized by the Port Commission, was the latest in a series of efforts to get feedback about the potential for military cargo to pass through the port. Two previous meetings were held on the topic by Commissioner E.J. Zita, but as a citizen, not as a commissioner.

The port is viewed as a strategic alternative destination for Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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