Port plans new jobs

Port plans new jobs

The Port of Astoria hopes its strategic plan will help create hundreds of jobs for its community. // PHOTO COURTESY OF PORT OF ASTORIA
The Port of Astoria’s newly finished strategic plan hopes to generate 200 new jobs for the coastal town, no small feat considering that Clatsop County’s unemployment rate is 9.5% and job growth has decreased by 1.4% since last May.

“We hope new activity will bring more jobs,” says port executive director Jack Crider. Implementation is planned over the next three to five years.

The port wants to remake its central waterfront buildings and deepwater piers in hopes of generating 100 jobs. The Red Lion Hotel there wants to tap into the cruise-ship market with a proposed $10 million remodel that would create 40 jobs. Currently, fish processing companies dominate the three  piers, but the port is looking into new leases with lumber companies that could create another 60 jobs. Pier revenues were down 36% between 2008 and 2009.

The other potential 100 jobs are six miles away at Tongue Point. Tongue Point Investors, a Warrenton biomass company, plans join the 10-plus companies already on the point and bring an estimated 25 jobs. A $1.5 million upgrade of the railroad leading to the point will cut down on transportation costs. The port estimates that upgrading the infrastructure will boost the business of tenants such as shipbuilder Pacific Expedition Yachts and fish processor Del Mar Seafoods and hopefully create another 75 jobs.

Some city officials and current tenants have been skeptical it will really happen.

“At first the plan seemed inconsistent with current tenants such as  Bornstein Seafood and Englund Marine. Since that time there has been more communication,” says mayor of Astoria Willis Van Dusen. “Astoria needs more jobs.”