WALDPORT — Roxie Cuellar, manager of the Port of Alsea, wants the public to be aware that the boat launch and the docks will be closing for construction. The boat launch will shut down Oct. 23.
The docks will remain open for fishing and crabbing until Oct. 28, when all crab pots and materials must be removed by 5 p.m. Construction is set to begin on Nov. 1.
“We’re waiting on the Corps of Engineers permit for the marina,” said Cueller. “Everything appears to be on track.”
Voters within the Port of Alsea district approved a $2.66 million bond measure in the May 2018 election to fund construction of a new marina and boat ramp.
There have been some unexpected obstacles to the construction project. The sandbar off the Bayshore development broke down, bringing sand into the river and making costly dredging necessary. The port applied for a dredging permit that will allow them to dredge 16,500 cubic yards of sand. “However,” said Cueller, “I’m not sure we will be able to afford to dredge that much.”
The upside is that the contractor for the dock project, Bergerson Construction, has a dredge. “So if there was a good time for the sand bar to fail, it’s while there’s a barge already here,” Cuellar said.
Additionally, the National Marine Fisheries Service requires the port to breach an old earthen dam on the north side of the river across from Eckman Lake.
“We need to remove 400 cubic yards of debris, move it to the south side of the bay, then have it trucked away,” explained Cueller.
While there was a buffer included in the bond measure to cover unexpected expenses, there are restrictions on how money is spent. To offset the unexpected $140k, the port applied for a $100k Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife grant.
“We’re excited for the changes,” said Nicky Colonna as she was crabbing off the docks on a sunny Friday afternoon. When asked what she would do while the docks are closed, she said: “Oh, I’ll still crab. Off the beach, the jetty … I’ll go to Newport, to Florence.” Her general sentiment is that the improvements are worth the inconvenience of the closure. “It’s going to be an even better place to come, to bring the family.”
“The contractor guarantees we’ll be open April 15,” said Cueller.