TOLEDO — “The boatyard used to only go down to there,” Port of Toledo Manager Bud Shoemake said at the Port of Toledo Shipyard on the Yaquina River on Friday afternoon, pointing to a pickup truck parked near the large cranes.
On the other side of that truck stands the $5.1 million, 90-foot-tall weatherproof structure nearing completion. Shoemake noted that an Oregon Business Development Department loan helped the port purchase the yard in 2010. The towering building and the 660-ton lift were funded, in part, through grant dollars from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Connect Oregon program.
Built to hold the port’s 660-ton mobile lift, the structure will house some offices and provide the yard with a contained environment for painting, sandblasting and other work out of the weather.
Shoemake, as he always does, credits good strategic planning as well as the port’s many partners, including the Siletz Tribe, for the growth and success of the port. “Everything we’ve done is because of the plan,” he said.
The shipyard currently sees more than 200 boats come in each year, most for regular maintenance. “We call it a shave and a haircut,” said Shoemake — boats getting power washed, a fresh coat of paint and new zincs.
Other necessary work may be discovered as boat is hauled out of the water, Ted Mandell, a yard supervisor, explained. Mandell was working to replace seals on two shafts on a boat in dry dock that day, pausing to help with hauling and launching.
The port, usually employing a total of 36 people, is down seven employees, Shoemake told the News-Times, with one employee returning to work that Friday. “Things are starting to pick back up now,” he said. “And this becomes our busy season with the bigger boats and with the return of the distant water fleet in another month.
“Everyone is apprehensive about spending money,” Shoemake added, reporting that the commercial fleet is down about 30 percent from where they were last year in earnings.
As two boats and their crews waited on the tide, Ben Victorine, shipyard foreman, explained. “Right now, you see the river is still flowing upstream. The tide is still coming in.” Eventually, the water coming down the river will equalize with the water coming up the river, and it will stop moving. “We will have a half hour or so of still water,” he said.
With the current is coming in, the crane straps can become tangled in the boats rigging, Victorine explained. “It’s better to wait until the river is not moving.”
As the water became still, port staff sprang into action. The F/V Stillwater out of Coos Bay headed out to catch some shrimp. The smaller F/V New Dawn moved into place under the smaller crane, her bottom power-washed first as she hung in the air.
“I’m always the first one out of the water,” said Henry deRonden-Pos, owner and operator of the New Dawn, his boat in for regular maintenance and some ongoing projects. “I could have maybe stayed and caught some tuna,” he said, “but this is when I hauled out last year.”
The Port of Toledo was scheduled to hold its regular meeting electronically via GoToMeeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.