Plans to build a golf course in Warrenton and complete the haul-out facility on Pier 3 are moving forward, according to staff of the Port of Astoria.

The Port of Astoria Commission met Tuesday for a budget hearing and workshop session, during which members discussed dredging in Warrenton and conference center funds from room tax.

The new haul-out facility, which will be able to remove boats from the water for storage or repair, is expected to be operational shortly after July 4, said Ken Smith, harbormaster. The haul-out machine itself is now functional, but workers are still completing the ramp that it will ride on.

He added that since Friday, the port had received 19 calls for a haul-out, so there should be a good demand for the service. The port plans to hire two new people to operate the facility as soon as possible.

Port staff had discussed the planned 18-hole golf course in Warrenton with a developer, and are beginning to prepare for the permit application processes from regulatory agencies. They have talked with the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce and will contact other organizations with interests in the area before submitting permit applications, to ensure the plans "minimize any adverse effect on the wetlands," said Port Executive Director Peter Gearin.

The Port also discussed helping the city of Warrenton apply for a federal grant to dredge the Hammond Marina, which would allow more boats to dock. Gearin said once funds are available, "with improvement with our dredging equipment, we may be in a position to do the dredging for them."

Gearin also said that there was good news on the conference center funding. While the city had previously estimated that the proposed center at the port could receive $120,000 in room tax funds, a revised estimate puts the figure at $180,000.

Cold storage remains a topic of discussion at the Port, and members discussed hiring a company to conduct a market analysis of the demand. They also discussed the possibility of forming a small steering group to specify what the company would investigate.


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