———————————————————February 2, 2022—————————————————–
Looking ahead: Port Commission meets Wednesday, Feb. 9
Two Port Commission meetings are slated for Wednesday, Feb. 9. At a 9:30 a.m. workshop meeting, the Commission may take up whether to shift some of its 5:30 p.m. regular business meetings to earlier in the afternoon. At the 1 p.m. business meeting, the Commission is expected to take up financials, a report on IDD levy funded projects and a report on the Quilcene process, among other topics. Both meetings are open to the public. Public comment is welcomed at the start of the 1 p.m. business meeting. Agendas and Zoom links can be found at www.portofpt.com.
Port staffing: New and promoted employees are at their stations; more to come
Key retirements have prompted the Port to reorganize much of its staff and to welcome several new employees. The reorganization has Chris Sparks taking charge of both the Maintenance and the Yard crews as the new Operations Manager. Kristian Ferrero is the new Harbormaster, in charge of customer service by the moorage office crews. Kimberlie Webber is the new Environmental Specialist, taking over from Terry Taylor who is retiring. Steve Springer is the new security officer. Several other employees have been promoted. Retiring Operations Manager Terry Khile is busy assisting with the transition in his last month with the Port.
Herb Beck Marina discussions continue with Quilcene community
Port officials have another meeting with Quilcene-area residents on Wednesday, Feb. 2, to continue working toward a maintenance and development plan for the Herb Beck Marina and upland area. On the table, said Deputy Director Eric Toews, is infrastructure maintenance, a possible RV campground and future development like cabins, an oyster bar and a store that might make the marina more of a destination. Port Engineer Matt Klontz is developing cost estimates. The goal, said Toews, is for the marina and upland area to become financially self-sustaining. The Port is still seeking a “marina host” at the Herb Beck Marina who could live aboard their vessel for free in exchange for helping create a clean and welcoming environment there.
Port to bolster public information about Sims Way project
The three-way collaboration continues between the Port, the Jefferson County PUD and the City of Port Townsend on the Sims Way project. That’s where PUD transmission lines along the Boat Yard have arced into and burned the leaves of some poplars that have grown into the power lines. The agencies are preparing an “FAQ” page of facts about the process, including the Port’s desire to expand the Boat Yard toward Sims Way. The Port estimates the expansion could lead to 10 new private marine trades jobs in the first year and a total of 20 new jobs by the fifth year. With the City and PUD, the Port is looking at improving public information and access with the help of a specialist.
COVID has an impact on Port personnel
For his first year and a half at the helm of the Port of Port Townsend, Executive Director Eron Berg said the steps the Port took to keep its staff safe from COVID worked extremely well. Almost no Port staffer reported a COVID infection. But in the last few weeks, several staffers have suffered from the Omicron variety. According to Port protocols and Jefferson County guidance, affected employees have stayed home for at least a week and returned only when free of symptoms.
Point Hudson jetty work advances; studies and grant funding awaited
The Port still expects to be able to replace at least one of the damaged and obsolete breakwater jetties at the mouth of the Point Hudson Marina in the fall of 2022, but key pieces of the permit puzzle must still fall into place, said Deputy Director Eric Toews. A final biological review from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department is pending, as is grant funding anticipated from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Port Engineer Matt Klontz has demolition and construction specifications in hand.