About five years ago, Bob Zakrzewski and Lasse Vedenoja literally picked up and moved their business across the?Port of Astoria's central waterfront to the base of Pier 3.

Moving the 200-foot-long green building where they do boat repairs cost them $250,000, and it took six months to get the business back up and running afterward.

Port leaders at the time suggested the move to bring the company, Columbia Pacific Marine Works, Inc., into the developing marine services center along with Englund Marine &?Industrial Supply. The Port promised to build a boat ramp nearby, but that never happened.

At an open house Monday, Zakrzewski and Vedenoja said they are worried about having a log yard as their new neighbor if the Port moves ahead with a lease of Pier 3 and Pier 1 to Westerlund?Log Handlers of Bremerton, Wash.

They can't afford to pick up and move again.

"We were promised a marine industrial park with a boat ramp," Zakrzewski said. "There's no plan if it doesn't work for us."

Westerlund has proposed an arrangement that would minimize the impact of their log operation on existing Port tenants. The company hosted an open house Monday night to share information about their proposal. However, none of the company's representatives would speak with The?Daily Astorian.

Kurt Englund of Englund Marine said?Westerlund has been good about trying to work with his business. But there's no easy answer yet. He and his father, Jon Englund, are still looking at whether they can coexist alongside the log exporter, which would bring roughly 40 to 50 log truck loads a day to Pier 3.

"They're a good group of guys and they've been real up front with us,"?he said. "We're in a tough spot. We understand the Port's not going to get rich being a landlord. They need a good source of revenue."

Revenue for the Port and jobs for longshoremen are two attractive elements of the Westerlund proposal, supporters say.

Westerlund wants to lease about 16 acres of the Port's central waterfront for 10 years to ship logs to Asia, partnering with log manufacturer International Veneer Co. of Virginia, which has sawmills overseas.

Their operation would deliver an estimated $1 million a year to the Port's coffers, boosting the agency's annual revenue by 25 percent.

Port Executive Director Jack Crider said the company is still negotiating with the longshoreman union and doesn't know how many jobs the project would generate. Longshoremen would be needed to move the logs from Pier 3 to Pier 1, and to load the logs onto ships from there.

Local longshoreman Gary Matson, who attended Monday's open house, said the operation could set up fairly easily and wouldn't leave anything behind if and when it had to go.

"It's a great way for the Port to get diversified and put people to work,"?he said.

Westerlund's current proposal includes leasing 4.3 acres of Pier 1, where logs would be loaded onto ships, 10.9 acres of Pier 3, where logs would be stored and debarked, and 1.2 acres of land for a transfer route between the two piers. The transfer route would hug the waterfront - avoiding Gateway Avenue - and the existing boatyard on Pier 3 would be moved south, alongside Englund Marine & Industrial Supply.

The?Port Commission will discuss the Westerlund proposal at its special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the Port offices.

A traffic study of how log trucks would move through the Port is under way and will likely be available at tonight's meeting.


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