The Port of Astoria commission held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to approve a resolution for a loan agreement to pay for replacing a section of the West Mooring basin breakwater.

Deputy Director Bill Cook said this morning that the commission had few other options on the matter aside from replacing the breakwater wall.

"We really had not choice but to go ahead with the full fix and ... put in a new wall," he said.

According to a staff report on the breakwater, a portion of the west section failed July 3.

"The failure is particularly dangerous because the strong flow of water particularly in the winter, coupled with strong east winds, could peel back the breakwater accelerating the failure and exposing the basin to the river wave action," the report said.

Cook said port staff were surprised to find the project will cost $3.6 million, which is $500,000 more than initially estimated. He said recently imposed tariffs on foreign steel are behind the cost increase.

Also giving immediacy to the project is the requirement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that all in water construction work be completed between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 to protect endangered species.

Despite the higher cost of the project, Cook said the port can handle the cost of the loan.

"We're OK in terms of the overall budget," he said. "The port has been able to reduce its overall debt service."

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