By Erik Olson , March 3, 2014, The Daily News
Workers have started demolition work at the Port of Longview’s Berth 4, clearing out wooden decks to kick off redevelopment of one of the port’s oldest properties.
Operators of the port’s 560-ton Liebherr mobile harbor crane were tearing up the surface Monday in front of the port’s old grain terminal, which has gone unused for three decades. A second crane handled some of the smaller work.
Port officials said this phase of the $1.4 million dock demolition project should be finished by the end of the month and has supported seven jobs on the dock. Workers will finish the demolition of the pilings in October when state regulations permit work in the water to resume.
Port officials have identified the $12 million redevelopment of Berth 4 as a top priority to attract new industries and jobs to the area. In recent months, port officials have said they need to spend more than $70 million to upgrade aging equipment and facilities, and a divided port commission doubled the port’s tax collections in December to generate money for some of these projects.
The dilapidated Berth 4 was once operated by Continental Grain Company until it was shuttered in the 1980s. Attempts to restart the terminal date back to the 1990s, but port officials abandoned those plans when they started pursuing the EGT grain terminal for the new Berth 9 site downriver.
Norm Krehbiel, the port’s deputy director, said the old grain terminal dates back to Longview’s beginnings in the early 1920s. Two expansions were completed by 1951, bringing the total number of of silos to 38.
Once the site is demolished, port officials say they envision bringing another bulk facility to the area, but they revealed no solid plans.
Krehbiel said port officials would need to do further testing on the silos themselves for demolition, and they have not lined up the financing. Nevertheless, he said they were excited to get started.
“It’s been on our radar for a long time as the number one redevelopment area in the port,” Krehbiel said.