Sponsored by Oregon Business

Astoria port’s woes stymie dredging effort

| Print |  Email
Thursday, March 01, 2007

ASTORIA — Plagued by political infighting and legal woes, the Port of Astoria has fired its executive director, Peter Gearin, and continues to face what has become a very public debate over how the port is operated.

Leading the list of troubles are permitting issues that have prevented dredging in some parts of the port for the last three years, which could have a serious impact on business.

The agency, which has an annual budget of about $3.5 million, oversees the Astoria-area airport, cruise ship terminals, marinas and boatyards — and the 175,000 cubic feet of sediment deposited each year in the harbor by the ever-competing forces of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River.

Some of that material is tainted with DDT and other chemicals. A bungled 2004 dredging operation to remove some of that contaminated material left the port saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of legal bills and a still-unresolved federal investigation.

Permits to dredge more polluted soil come from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with input by the National Marine Fisheries Service. And while one has been issued (and the port was able to dredge its cruise ship docks), disagreement between the port and agencies over pollution levels in some areas has prevented all required dredging.

Over time, the silt gets deeper. At low tide, docks used by sardine boats and the entry to the boat yard haul-out are too shallow to use.

Port officials could not estimate when boats would be fully blocked from those areas. When it happens, three fish processing plants — which employ more than 250 people — will sit idle. The haul-out, which the port relies on for revenue, will be unusable.

Port and fisheries service officials are working on resolving the disagreement, but no one will guess how long that could take.

— Abraham Hyatt

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Social media transforming sports business

The Latest
Thursday, September 24, 2015

The traditional model of sports teams using paid media to get their message across is disappearing as teams look instead to social media to interact with fans.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Mayoral musings

Linda Baker
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
091515-mayors-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be the year of the outsider, with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump capturing leads in the polls and the headlines. In Portland, Wheeler vs. Hales is bucking the outlier trend.


Run, Nick, Run

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Controversial track star Nick Symmonds is leveraging his celebrity to grow a performance chewing-gum brand. Fans hail his marketing ploys as genius. Critics dub them shameless.


Cutting Edge

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

“There wasn’t a reason shaving with a straight razor should have been taken over by shaving with disposable razors.”

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02