Tillamook Bay South Jetty Funding Request of 62M, Approved

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the civil works programs they plan to implement in their Operation and Maintenance Work Plan of 2022-23. The Tillamook Bay & Bar project, to repair the south jetty at the Port of Garibaldi, has been allocated 62 million dollars.

The funding comes from the $22.81 billion dollars in supplemental funding provided in two recently enacted laws (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act).

This is a triumphant success for Tillamook County and for the state of Oregon. 

That success has not come without a struggle.

In 2009 the Port of Garibaldi’s efforts, in conjunction with partners, secured funding for the north jetty repair but the south jetty was overlooked; year after year loosing out to larger projects and fund reallocations. Leaving the Garibaldi fisherman to navigate the failing jetty system at the mouth of the Tillamook Bay.

“For a jetty system to work properly both sides need to be lined up, if not, sediment doesn’t get pushed out into deep water. With an unstable jetty system, the sediment builds up at the entrance and there are breaking waves in a place where a secure channel should be,” said Michael Saindon, retired master chief of the U.S. Coast Guard and General Manager for the Port of Garibaldi.

Some would say the most prime fishing grounds in the state of Oregon are located right in front of Garibaldi. “I know some very tough fishermen that come fish here and turn around and take the product back to their ports because they’re scared to come in here. Just last year I lost a friend on the bar because of the deteriorating south jetty,” said Bob Browning, 3rd generation commercial fisherman and vice president of the Port of Garibaldi Commissioners Board.

Getting the south jetty repaired means safety for the Garibaldi fishermen but also means a positive impact on the city of Garibaldi as a whole. The jetty system, in it’s current state, is considered more of a liability than an asset for some fishing companies. The risk has stopped them from delivering their product to Garibaldi. “The jetty repair could turn things around; bringing a lot more product to our buyers, our facilities and even help create more jobs for the town.” said Browning.

Valerie Folkema, the president of the Port of Garibaldi Commissioners Board, along with partners, is credited for her tireless efforts to get the jetty project funded. “This bay has such a significant value to the community that it would be an incredible derelict of our duties if we didn’t make an effort to get the jetty repaired,” said Folkema.

Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, and Rep. Kurt Schrader, as well as The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Oregon Public Ports Association and the Tillamook County Commissioners have also been key players in getting this funding secured. “We’re definitely taking a victory lap on this one,” said Saindon.

After 28 years of watching the jetty deteriorate, local recreational and commercial fisherman had lost hope of ever seeing the jetty function properly. “Not to sound pessimistic but I’m going to wait to pop the champagne until I see the rocks on the jetty,” added Browning.