HARBOR HELP: Depoe Bay, Yaquina to get dredging funds

Depoe Bay city officials say the city is facing an economic emergency.

Heavy spring and winter rains have sent enormous amounts of silt into the Depoe Bay Harbor clogging the water way during low tides. The debris blocks vessels from fueling up at the harbor fuel dock, which adversely impacts fishing, charter boats and other harbor business, according to city officials.

Loren Goddard, a Depoe Bay City Councilor and owner/operator of Dockside Charters, believes the long-term fix would be to dredge the entire harbor, which likely could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Depoe Bay has been working with Oregon’s Congressional delegation hoping to leverage federal funding, and the needed permits, to get the dredging as soon as possible.

The following is a release emailed to thenewsguard.com on Thursday afternoon, May 25, from Oregon’s Congressional delegation concerning the dredging issue.

Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), have announced that the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) will dedicate new funding for dredging and maintenance of four of Oregon’s small ports, including the Depoe Bay Harbor and Yaquina Bay in Newport.

The new funding for small ports includes:

  • Coquille River (Bandon): $467,000
  • Depoe Bay: $27,000
  • Rogue River (Gold Beach): $800,000
  • Yaquina Bay and Harbor (Newport): $893,000

The funding announcement follows a letter that the Senators and Representatives sent earlier this week urging the Army Corps to dedicate additional funding for projects at Oregon’s small ports in their 2017 work plan.

“This funding will make a tremendous difference for safety, economic vitality, and job creation along Oregon’s coast,” Merkley said. “This is terrific news for Bandon, Depoe Bay, Gold Beach, and Newport. This funding is especially critical for Gold Beach, which was at risk of losing Coast Guard Search and Rescue capabilities, putting lives at risk and effectively grinding a productive working port to a halt. Getting these urgently-needed dredging projects moving is a great investment for Oregon and our nation.”

“Oregon’s small ports power our coastal economies by generating good-paying jobs in commercial fishing, recreation and much more,” Wyden said. “I’m glad to see the federal government recognize the importance of coastal communities by investing in our ports, which will now be able to complete crucial dredging projects that keep these communities afloat.”

“Oregon’s ports and harbors are the lifeblood of the communities they serve. Thousands of Oregon jobs are directly or indirectly tied to cargo, recreation, industrial, commercial or other activity at Oregon’s ports,” DeFazio said. “These critical investments in dredging and maintenance will help ensure Oregon’s small ports stay open for business and boost local economies. I applaud the Army Corps for including this essential funding in their Work Plan.”

“Oregon’s ports are critical to economic development and they serve as a link to connect Oregon businesses and agriculture with international markets,” Bonamici said. “I’m pleased to see that the US Army Corps of Engineers will be investing in small ports in Oregon. Investments in marine infrastructure are important to growing our economy in the Northwest, and this is positive news for our region.”

“This is a testament to what Congress can do when it ignores ideological differences and works across the aisle to strengthen local communities,” Blumenauer. said. “I’m glad the Army Corps understands these needs. This will make a difference.”