Sponsored by Oregon Business

Watch your back, Woods Hole

| Print |  Email
Thursday, August 20, 2009
woodshole
Iselin Marine Facility at Woods Hole
PHOTO BY WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION

Add the facilities in Newport and Corvallis together, and Oregon is home to the third-largest ocean research community in the U.S., with a budget of about $120 million, says George Boehlert, director of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The coastal town of about 10,000 is a rising star in ocean research, behind only the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego and Woods Hole, Mass., a Cape Cod village world-famous for marine research.

Newport’s research community leapt forward last month when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration signed a lease with the Port of Newport for a new facility, paid for by $19.5 million in lottery-backed bonds and $24.8 million in revenue bonds issued by the port. The facility’s economic impact is estimated to be $19 million per year, plus 50 to 100 construction jobs and a smaller number of NOAA jobs. Port manager Don Mann says building up the science sector will create high-paying jobs and diversify the economy in the long run. “We keep saying we want to be the Woods Hole of the West Coast,” he says.

Newport hosts researchers from OSU and at least seven federal agencies, making it more like Woods Hole’s multi-institutional community than San Diego’s university-based Scripps. Woods Hole is a coastal town with a small population that regularly swells with tourists, fishermen, second homeowners and oceanographers — much like Newport.

But Newport can’t exactly replicate the Woods Hole path to pre-eminence. Woods Hole’s science community developed after the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries (now the National Marine Fisheries Service) was established in 1871, and started attracting marine biologists to the area who established more laboratories. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the largest of the 73 marine science firms in Cape Cod and its biggest employer with about 1,000 employees and a research budget of $129 million, was established in 1930. Woods Hole is also bolstered by its proximity to a host of top-rated universities.

One tangle in building an ocean research hub is that oceanographers can now do their work without the sea by monitoring satellite transmissions and even operating vessels remotely. Quick ocean access was a big factor in NOAA’s decision to move from Seattle to Newport, where the 30-minute cruise to the Pacific is a vast improvement over a lengthy slog through locks and Puget Sound. But a May 2008 report commissioned by the nonprofit Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation concluded that Newport must build high-tech facilities if it wants to draw oceanographers.

Newport’s research sector has grown rapidly in the past 40 years. But Bob Curtis, director of a Woods Hole nonprofit that works to maximize the research community’s economic impact, says it’s likely to be a long road to economic prominence. When asked what advice Woods Hole could offer Newport, he suggested patience.

ADRIANNE JEFFRIES
 

More Articles

Uncertainty about convention center hotel could cost Portland an NBA All-Star Game

The Latest
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
463545460BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

NBA commissioner: "I would love to end up having an All-Star Game in Portland. It's really just a function of ensuring that we can fit in town."


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 8 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS