Port signs on to support Cannery Pier oil cleanup

A costly oil spill near the Cannery Pier Hotel has raised concerns about old tanks.

The Port of Astoria Commission passed a resolution Tuesday to work cooperatively in the cleanup of a costly oil spill at the Cannery Pier Hotel.

A dilapidated pier next to the hotel collapsed last month and damaged a tank underneath filled with Bunker C oil used to fire the boilers of a former cannery.

The Coast Guard and contractors deployed containment booms around the property, removed the tank and about 2,200 gallons of oil, placed peat moss to help clean surrounding seawalls and cleaned boats soiled in the Port’s West Mooring Basin just west of the hotel.

The hotel and the adjacent pier are owned by local developer Robert Jacob, who bought the property from the Port in 1999 to develop the boutique hotel on the site of the former Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Co. Hotel staff have said they did not know about the tank, which has been under the pier since at least 1921, according to the Coast Guard.

The Port had purchased the property from Peter Pan Seafoods in 1984.

The cleanup costs for the spill are now close to $1 million, said Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director.

While it’s obvious the tank was on the property of the hotel, it will take time for the Coast Guard to determine who is responsible and what is owed, he said.

“This is an opportunity for our organization, through the commission, to proclaim support for our neighbors when our neighbors are in distress,” Knight said. “This is our opportunity to proclaim our ability to come and help manage the process when identifying who are the responsible parties, and what will ultimately be their fair share, with the guidance and support of the Coast Guard.”

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners and the Astoria City Council will both hear similar resolutions at their next meetings. State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has said she will help in any way she can at the state level.

Port Commissioner Robert Stevens, a retired Coast Guard captain, will also help keep track of the Coast Guard’s cleanup efforts.

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