TOLEDO — Longtime Port of Toledo Manager Bud Shoemake previously notified the board of commissioners he will be retiring after a 16-year tenure that saw unprecedented growth at the port. Shoemake’s legacy includes the port’s 90-foot-tall steel structure nearly complete, being built to accommodate the port’s 660-ton mobile lift.
On Wednesday morning, crews halted work, and members of the port’s board of commissioners and the community gathered to raise the American flag.
“It’s tradition to put an American flag on the top,” Shoemake explained. The initial flag was one from federal surplus he paid $10 for. “We took an old trolling pole off a boat and put it on the other end.”
Wednesday, with construction nearly complete and a proper pole with solar lights installed, a new flag was raised. “This is going to be the first time it goes up,” Shoemake said as dozens of people gathered.
Shoemake pointed out that it was JH Kelley Foreman Jeremy Ballerd’s last day. Ballerd told the News-Times, “It’s the most unique building I’ve ever seen. The detail in the structure is amazing.”
Of the projects Ballerd has managed, he said this was probably the most difficult, citing the extent of the welding and the connections. “(For) the 70-foot door, they had to engineer a whole section outside the building to hold that side of the building up. There was a lot of engineering, a lot of components involved.” Ballerd said the port’s was the tallest pre-engineered building he’s ever seen.
“I’ve had a lot of good help,” Ballerd added. “It was a good opportunity for us as union contractors to come show the port our skills as union ironworkers.”
While Ballerd was leaving the project, JH Kelly will perform the final detail work around the office after the concrete is poured, he indicated.
“We’ve got electrical to finish, fire suppression and ventilation. Our deadline with the state is in January,” Shoemake said. “We’ll make it.”
Shoemake will retire at the end of January. The Special Districts Association of Oregon is handing the recruitment of a new port manager.