U.S. Coast Guard
Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read/Submitted photo
The U.S. Coast Guard has selected Astoria as the new home for two fast response cutters by 2021, a decision that will expand the agency’s footprint on the North Coast and provide a significant financial boost to the city.
The 154-foot Sentinel-class cutters replace the 1980s-era, 110-foot, Island-class patrol boats on the coast, which are nearing the end of their service life.
Astoria had been competing with Newport for the two new cutters.
“I’m exceedingly pleased to get this news,” Astoria City Manager Brett Estes said. “I think it’s going to be able to add on to the existing Coast Guard presence in our community.”
Estes said the Coast Guard expansion will add to the region’s economic base. “To be able to have more Coast Guard presence, more Coast Guard men and women in our community, is a great thing,” he said.
The Coast Guard has been looking at the 17th Street Dock or Tongue Point for the new cutters, but an official said a decision has not been made on where in the city the cutters will homeport.
The new cutters have not been named, according to the Coast Guard, but others in the class have been named for enlisted personnel who distinguished themselves.
The first fast response cutter based on the West Coast, and the 21st pressed into service overall, was the John McCormick in Ketchikan, Alaska. The cutter is named after a former officer-in-charge of the wooden 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph out of Station Point Adams. McCormick was awarded the Coast Guard’s Gold Lifesaving Medal for maneuvering the Triumph against a strong current and into the breakers to pick up a crewman who fell overboard on March 26, 1938.
Of the 58 planned fast response cutters, 38 have been ordered. A second fast response cutter will be commissioned in Ketchikan in June. The cutters are designed to patrol coastal areas, with an endurance of five days and a maximum speed of 28 knots.
The new cutters are replacing the Island-class patrol boats. One of the patrol boats, the Orcas, will continue to operate in Coos Bay until the new cutters arrive in Astoria in 2021.
The Coast Guard’s Sector Columbia River headquarters and Air Station Astoria are based at the Astoria Regional Airport in Warrenton. Astoria is also home to the Coast Guard’s 210-foot medium endurance cutters Steadfast and Alert, and the 225-foot buoy tender Fir, but does not have one of the Island-class patrol boats.
Astoria was designated a “Coast Guard City” in 2010.