When the Port of Astoria Commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, it will face two major choices. The commission will select a new executive director, its second in less than a year. It will also consider an array of assessments that would be levied on the fishing industry. This second item has generated considerable alarm and resistance that will likely appear Tuesday night.
The finalists for Port director have been pared down to:
• Michael Weston, the interim executive director of the Port and previously its director of business development and operations.
• Joseph Weber, most recently the director of the Pacific Maritime Association.
• Jim Knight, currently the director of the marine terminal at the Port of Olympia, Wash.
The Port has been searching for an executive director since its former leader, Hank Bynaker, resigned Sept. 10.
In an issue that has drawn local seafood processors to the Port Commission meeting, the Port holds the first reading on proposed increases and additions to Tariff No. 11, regarding vessel moorage and seafood unloaded over its docks.
The additions include:
• A vessel berthing cancellation fee of $250.
• A West End Mooring Basin daily electrical rate of $10.
• A wharfage tariff of $1.61 per 1,000 kilograms on fish, shellfish and bait.
• A service and facilities tariff of $2.32 per 1,000 kilograms of inbound fish, shellfish and bait and $1.52 per 1,000 kilograms of outbound fish, shellfish and bait.
The Port also proposes increasing dockage rates by 2 percent, along with moorage rates by $2 to $3 per foot at the West End Mooring Basin and electrical use by $2 per day. At North Tongue Point, the Port proposes 2-percent increases to labor and line service, passenger traffic service, security fees, wharfage and service and facilities fees.
Tariff No. 11, said Port staff, has not been updated to keep up with the consumer price index for four years at North Tongue Point and three years for its marinas. The proposed tariff changes come up for discussion Tuesday, with possible adoption Sept. 16 and an effective date of Oct. 1.
Finally, the Port will discuss putting out a request for proposals for a private fixed-base operator at the Astoria Regional Airport in Warrenton. Brim Aviation, which provides helicopter launch services to the Columbia River Bar Pilots, recently made a presentation to the Port about the services it might provide as an FBO.
The addition of a private FBO has the potential to reduce the Port’s overhead by $1,650 per month but will also cost one full-time and two part-time employees. The Port’s last FBO was John Overholser, whose contract it bought and added as its airport manager, before recently laying him off to cut labor costs.