Monday, January 3, 2011

In the boatyard business!

The Port of Toledo is pleased to announce that the purchase of the former Fred Wahl boatyard at Sturgeon Bend in Toledo was finalized on Wednesday, December 29, 2010. Funding for the purchase comes from the Oregon Business Development Department’s Infrastructure Finance Authority in the form of a $1.2 million loan from the Port Revolving Loan Fund, and a $350,000 grant from state lottery funds.

The property acquisition had been delayed due to the discovery of sediment contamination from past shipyard operations. The Port has been working with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to come to an agreement for the cleanup of the property. The Port has entered into a consent judgment with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality which provides the Port with certain liability protections in exchange for the public benefit of the Port’s purchase of the property and its commitment to complete DEQ’s approved cleanup. The Port has secured state lottery funds for the cleanup through a Brownfields Redevelopment Fund grant administered through Oregon Business Development Department.
The boatyard site was used by the timber industry from the 1950s to the 1980s, and shipyard operations began in 1996 with Sturgeon Bend Boat Works. Fred Wahl acquired the property in 1999 and ran operations there until he closed in December 2008. It has been out of operation since.
The buildings, equipment, dry-dock and travel-lift will be checked over, cleaned up and repaired as needed during January with the yard reopening February 1, 2011. The travel-lift can pull boats as large as 90 tons, and the dry-dock can pull vessels as large as 300 tons.The Port’s business plan calls for an ‘open’ boatyard with the port being responsible for scheduling, hauling out the vessels, hull cleaning, blocking, and environmental compliance. Vessel owners will have the opportunity to perform their own maintenance, following boatyard policies, and can hire individual contractors as desired. Methods used in the operation of the yard will be as ‘green’ as possible, and DEQ’s applicable best management practices will be followed to assure that no further contamination occurs on the site.
The Port will also be pursing grants to make infrastructure improvements such as storm drainage, parking, and extending city sewer service to the property.Many boat owners have expressed their frustration in not having local facilities available to pull their large vessels. Owners and operators of these vessels now have the option to have repairs and improvements done locally, rather than taking their vessels - and their money - out of the area, which means jobs and economic value to Lincoln County.
The Port wishes to thank our partners throughout the process, which have included Oregon Business Development Department, Lynn Schoessler, executive director for the Infrastructure Finance Authority; Dave Harlan, Ports Division Manager; Karen Homolac, Brownfields Program Specialist; and the Governor’s Economic Revitalization Team. Bud Shoemake says, “It’s been a long time coming, and now we are ramping up our efforts to get the yard open for business.”