Port prepares to boost surveillance along waterfront

The Port will increase video surveillance on the central waterfront.

The Port of Astoria Commission has approved spending $115,000 to improve video surveillance.

The contract with WatchPoint Video includes nearly 40 additional cameras along the central waterfront and the Port’s two marinas on the west and east end of Astoria, including new license-plate readers and improvements to the Port’s existing cameras. The contract also includes new servers to store footage and equipment to wirelessly transfer footage to the Port’s central office.

The Port has experienced issues with theft on the central waterfront and cameras too outdated to see license plates or the make and model of vehicles. The new cameras will allow the Port to read license plates and potentially use facial recognition technology.

The improved surveillance is being paid for by a $285,000 security grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including approximately $70,000 in previous Pier 1 lighting upgrades that covered a 25 percent local match. The agency will spend the rest of the grant on fencing, equipment to scan worker credentials and improved electrical infrastructure, said Matt McGrath, the Port’s director of operations.

The Port Commission has also approved spending up to $60,000 to replace wooden pilings along the west side of Pier 1, where seafood processors take in product from boats, once the in-water work window reopens in November.

The Port doesn’t go out for bids on such piling replacements because locally based Bergerson Construction always comes back the cheapest, McGrath said, adding the Port is looking at five-year piling replacement contracts to make the process more competitive.

The Port Commission approved a contract for nearly $14,000 to repair two dock fingers in an area of the west-end marina recently dredged by the Port of Ilwaco, Washington. The marina had not been dredged for more than 10 years, McGrath said, and the docks had snapped.

The Port also declared surplus a water evaporator the agency used to remove water from a boat wash station on the Pier 3 boatyard. The system was too expensive to operate, McGrath said, but is worth about $10,000 to $15,000.