The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is moving its Marine Operations Center from Seattle to Newport this month.
The first research vessel docked in Yaquina Bay this weekend.
Thus began the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s era in Newport, a relocation from Seattle that was hotly contested by Washington lawmakers and wildly celebrated in this Oregon Coast town, where officials put together a “Cadillac” proposal that lured the federal agency’s Marine Operations Center — and the 175 government jobs that go with it — to Oregon.
But the ship’s quiet arrival and departure over the weekend serves as an important reminder to a community that has eagerly anticipated NOAA’s arrival for months: This is not going to be an explosion of economic activity.
All but 65 of the government’s workers will remain at sea for all but a few days here and there, when the research vessels come to port for repairs, fuel, groceries and rest. The ships’ crews can live anywhere they want, really, because they spend so much time at sea that it doesn’t make much difference where they call home. Some crew members may choose to stay on board while they’re in port for brief periods in Newport, which won’t benefit local landlords and merchants, although ships will certainly rely on local contractors for maintenance, diesel and food, boosting those companies’ incomes.
Read more at The Register-Guard.