Downtime with Jim Knight, Port of Astoria Executive Director

Jim Knight talks duck farming, sea lions and the Astoria Marine Construction Company.


What I’m reading
An Eagle Named Freedom by Jeff Guidry. It’s a remarkable, true story of an eagle’s recovery in a wildlife rehab facility, and how the eagle bonds with his caretaker as he goes through cancer treatment and recovery. Also, Yiddish Wisdom. “The smoothest way is sometimes full of stones.”

What I’m watching
National Geographic. I’m hooked on Planet Earth II: The photography is amazing. And The Finest Hours, based on the 1952 USCG rescue of the crew of the SS Pendleton.

Must-have gadget
My Samsung Galaxy Note 5 phone. I use the stylus quite a bit; very useful in meetings.

Latest download
Scanner Radio. I live 12 miles east of Astoria, and when you hear the warning sirens, you don’t know if it’s a test or if Downtime 02the big one hit. Scanner Radio will let you know if you’re about to have a real bad day — or not.

No place like ...
Astoria. Living here gives you an entirely different perspective. You must be prepared to survive on your own for an extended period. The whole North Coast boasts great food, killer ales and beers. There is an abundance of concerts and art showings and festivals. There is the spectacular natural beauty of our environment.

Family traditions
On Christmas Eve, we always have prime rib roast chopped onto small French rolls, spread with horseradish, and we dip them in the au jus. At family funerals, we all toast the loved one with a sip of Glenlivet.

When I’m not working
My wife came home with a domesticated duck that needed a new home. My hobby became building a duck house and a new pen area. Since then we have acquired two more adult ducks. Half of the garage has been taken over with my wife’s four new female ducklings. They’re pretty cute. Every day, I let the three ducks out of the house, and I find three fresh eggs. They taste awesome!

Business role model
My father was a mid-level manager for IBM. That man put on a white shirt, suit and tie five to six days a week, and worked in a small office or a cubicle week after week for over 30 years. He worked hard to care for his five sons. He taught me perseverance and overcoming obstacles and to rise to every challenge, no matter how difficult.

Why I love my job
The Port of Astoria is a remarkable organization riddled with problems coupled with huge opportunities. It is fulfilling to lead a team of dedicated people committed to turning the Port around. Today our staff is dealing with storm-damaged facilities, crumbling infrastructure and rising water levels on nearly all of Port property.

Downtime 03About those sea lions
They smell bad; they’re not that friendly, and no one wants to eat them. I’m constantly asked to save them, kill them, protect them, get rid of them, promote them, and protect the fishermen. The only thing that will make the sea lions go away is when there is no more fish to eat. We have a situation that allows for a protected species, sea lions, eating an endangered species, salmon. We need serious help from our federal government. I must say: They are mesmerizing to watch.

What $2 million in cleanup costs means for the Astoria Marine Construction Company
The probable outcome is the end of AMCCO as we know it. We are trying to identify alternate sites for [shipyard] operations, but the development of an appropriate new site will take years and literally millions of dollars. We will continue to explore options for a new boatyard and boat-repair facility. With a lot of hard work and a heap of good luck, we may be able to find ways to keep the type of workers that currently work at AMCCO in our community.

Katy Sword

Katy Sword is the digital news editor of Oregon Business.

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