Port of Alsea work begins

Shane Johnson, of Scio, pulls his boat out of the Alsea Bay on Thursday afternoon after duck hunting. The existing boat launch will close Friday, at which point all boats must be removed from the dock. Johnson wasn’t sure where he would launch while the Port of Alsea is closed for construction. (Photo by Cheri Brubaker)

Boat launch closes today 

WALDPORT — Initially slated to begin last November, construction of the new marina and boat ramp at the Port of Alsea in Waldport will begin next week. Voters within the Port of Alsea district approved the $2.66 million bond measure during the May 2018 election to fund the project. Additional dredging was necessary, and there were delays in the permitting process last year, limiting the in-water work period.

Port Manager Roxie Cuellar confirmed that materials are being assembled, and work is set to begin next week. The boat launch will close today (Friday). All boats must be removed by 5 p.m., she advised.

The work was delayed this year, providing fishermen the opportunity to catch the salmon run this month in the bay. Though part of the docks are closed, crabbing on part of A dock is still permitted.

“I’ve always said the docks will stay open longer because the construction will begin at the boat launch,” Cueller said. When crabbing from the docks will end depends on the contractor’s schedule, she said, “when they start tearing up the docks.” Cueller projected that to be around Thanksgiving or the beginning of December.

 “At least you get another week on the docks, maybe longer,” she said. Closure and construction updates will be posted on the port’s website — portofalsea.com — and Facebook page.

“The salmon are really out of the bay by now. They’re up river. Fishing is pretty much over here at the bay,” Cuellar said, though she indicated crabbing continues to be good. Fishing on the bay winds down this time of year, she said. 

Once the rainy season hits, there aren’t many people on the docks, she added, though they sometimes set their pots and return later.

“Once in awhile we’ll get some duck hunters, but for the most part people who launch here are wanting to get on the Alsea Bay itself. This time of year it’s crabbers, and the crabbing is still really good,” Cuellar told the News-Times. 

Cuellar said the new facilities will be worth the inconvenience of the construction. Most importantly, she said, “We’ll have facilities that are safe to use.” Part of A dock and all the ADA platform and the commercial dock have been closed, as they are rotted and unsafe. 

“The main thing is we’re going to have facilities that are in good shape. They’re also going to be better facilities, made of better materials,” she said.

The existing single boat launch is often congested. “We will have a double ramp boat launch to accommodate more boats at the same time,” Cuellar said. There will be two lanes across from the stop sign. “We’ll be able to accommodate more boaters when we’re busy.”

The new marina will include head-in slips in addition to side ties, accommodating more boats in the same space. The new marina will extend about another 40 feet, adding about 15 more spaces.

Plans provide for a self-standing ADA platform and a new float dedicated to crabbing, fishing and a kayak launch. Additional paving and new striping will provide more parking. 

Cuellar said the project is expected to be complete “sometime in April.”

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