April 12, 2016
The Port of Grays Harbor Commission Meeting for April 12, 2016 was called to order at 9:00 a.m.
Art Blauvelt, Legal Counsel, led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Those in attendance at the meeting were as follows:
COMMISSION AND STAFF
Jack Thompson - Commissioner
Stan Pinnick - Commissioner
Chuck Caldwell - Commissioner
Gary Nelson - Executive Director
Arthur Blauvelt - Legal Counsel
Mary Nelson - Director of Finance & Administration
Mike Johnson - Contract & Project Manager
Randy Lewis - Director of Environmental and Engineering Services
Leonard Barnes - Deputy Executive Director
Marisa Yauch - Executive Administrative Assistant
Robin Leraas - Westport Marina Manager
Alissa Shay - Manager of Business Development
Shannon Anderson - Business & Trade Development Asst.
Seth Taylor - Marine Terminals Manager
Chris Hunt - IT Manager
Chuck Wallace - GHCDEM
Arnie Martin - GH Audubon
Linda Orgel - CCH
Bob Peterson - OS City Council Liaison
Marty Wicklund - A-1 Timber
Dave Daggett - A-1 Timber
Stephen Pustis - A-1 Timber
Marc Horton - WPC
Fred Goheen - JSC
Mike Dickerson - Citizen
Fred Rapp - ReachOne
Carl Burger - Smith-Root
Jason Kent - Smith-Root
Items discussed and action taken where required is as follows:
1. By motion made by Commissioner Caldwell, seconded by Commissioner Pinnick and unanimously approved, the Commission adopted the Minutes of March 8, 2016 Regular Commission Meeting as recorded in the Minutes Book No. 19 on pages 197 through 204 inclusive.
1. By motion made by Commissioner Pinnick, seconded by Commissioner Thompson, the Commission unanimously approved for payment those Payroll Vouchers issued March 18, 2016 and April 5, 2016, ACH/Wire Transfers No. 99900659 through and including No. 99900672 and General Disbursement Vouchers No. 90856 through and including No. 91074 for payment in the amount of $2,382,221.20.
Cascadia Rising Exercise, June 7-10, 2016
Mike Johnson introduced Charles Wallace of Grays Harbor County Emergency Management. Mr. Wallace is here to talk about an upcoming emergency exercise that will bring different emergency service agencies together to learn to work together in the event of a major earthquake and tsunami. Mr. Wallace presented on what we can expect when this area gets an earthquake of a magnitude 9.0 or greater. The earthquake is expected to last 4-6 minutes and be followed by a tsunami in about 35-45 minutes following the shaking. After this occurs, liquefaction will likely make many roads impassable and the subsidence will likely drop the geography of some areas from 4-6 feet increasing ocean effects. Help will not be able to get to remote areas for a potential period of weeks, not days, and residents will need to be able to sustain themselves during this time.
Mr. Wallace suggests the Port to have a plan for all tenants in our various locations. He believes the Port should expect damages and have a plan for infrastructure repairs when this does occur. There could be damages to rail lines, ships may go adrift, and the bar may shift to require unplanned dredging. He encourages the Port to think about if operations were to be shut down for a matter of months. Which facilities and infrastructure will be the most important to rebuild quickly; take a realistic look at funding needed for all of this.
Mr. Johnson stated the Port does have an evacuation plan in place for employees. On June 7th a drill for all employees will take place along with the rest of the terminal areas. The sirens will sound and employees will gather to discuss steps that would be taken in the event of an emergency.
Update on Sea Lion Deterrent Method
Robin Leraas introduced Jason Kent and Carl Burger from Smith-Root to speak on options for sea lion deterrence in the Marina area.
Mr. Kent explained the research they have done for many years to come up with solutions to the issues of sea lions resting on docks and other water structures which cause damage. There are many areas along the coast that have issue, as they often arrive in large groups and are heavy animals. The Port of Astoria calculated sea lion damages at over 2.4 million which includes damage to Port docks and lost revenue from inoperable docks.
Mr. Kent explained the technology and science of the pulsed direct current they use to deter sea lions. It is non-lethal and is only an annoyance to the animals should they choose to climb onto a dock that is wired with this product. Tests have been administered with veterinarians present ensuring that the animals are not in pain with the shock on the dock. They have products that are moveable mats, where people may choose to move them periodically to try to deter the animals from coming into a greater area. The installation at Westport is a permanent fix where the electric pieces are installed directly to the dock and are not moveable.
Commissioner Pinnick asked if the sea lions are inclined to go find another dock. Yes, they do go look for an untreated area that they will be able to relax on.
Commissioner Caldwell asked if there would be any issue with crab pots or other gear resting on the equipment. Mr. Kent said that the system had not been tested for this exactly, but as long as the equipment is not held there too long it should be fine. If the system were to be disrupted it is programmed to automatically reset when the area goes back to normal and equipment has been removed.
Mr. Nelson asked about the mats as opposed to the permanent installation which was done at Westport. Mr. Burger stated that the mats are about $70 to $80 a sq. ft. and the permanent installation is about 1/3 of that cost.
Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
Shannon Anderson announced the 21st Annual Shorebird Festival which will be held May 6-8 in Hoquiam. This event will go for three days with field trips to different areas and speakers to talk on specific birds. There will be a dessert reception Friday night at Hoquiam high school and an organized run/walk to support the event. There will be many opportunities to learn about the shore birds in our area. Grays Harbor Transit will be providing shuttles for the events.
Insurance Records on Vessel Mooring at Westport Marina
Robin Leraas reported that in June 2014 insurance coverage for vessels mooring in the marina became a state law requirement. Commercial fishermen have pushed back on this law stating that some cannot afford to keep vessel insurance and some older wooden boats are uninsurable. After meeting with the DNR regarding this new law and hearing an explanation for why this insurance requirement will be difficult to meet in some cases, Matthew Randazzo, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Public Lands issued a letter to PGH and Port of Ilwaco requesting that moorage be provided to older working wooden fishing vessels even if unable to provide insurance. In the meantime, the state is working on a solution to these issues long term. The law is meant to decrease costs in the event of derelict vessel situations. It states that a moorage facility operator that has failed to satisfy the insurance and registration requirements would not be eligible for reimbursement from the derelict vessel removal account controlled by the state.
Marina staff continues to work with long term moorage tenants requesting these requirements be met. Letters were sent boat owners that had not met these requirements on February 22 and a reminder on April 9. At this time 1/3 of the boats have met the insurance and registration requirements; staff will continue to work towards 100% compliance by the end of 2016. There is a lot of new information to renew annually; staff is working diligently to perfect a system to handle the documentation efficiently.
Commissioner Thompson asked how many boats will not be able to get insurance in our marina. Ms. Leraas said they are in the process now to try to figure out how many will be uninsurable as some owners have been unresponsive, but may have insurance.
The state mandate is for all to comply, no specific exceptions have been made. The state did issue a letter stating that Westport Marina allow moorage, but did not simultaneously provide exception to the law as stated in the mandate.
Art Blauvelt stated that there is a problem with this requirement and no formal solution has been provided by the state.
Commissioner Thompson asked if there was some sort of penalty phase for non-compliance. Mr. Blauvelt stated there is nothing at this time, but a penalty could be put into place. Mr. Nelson stated that all vessels will need to provide the insurance requirements in order to renew their annual moorage agreement with the Port.
Commissioner Caldwell asked if there was some sort of blanket insurance policy the Port could purchase to cover our liability. A policy that would cover the Port in the event that an uninsured boat sinks, catches fire, causes damage to another boat or the environment. Mary Nelson stated that the Port is covered for a variety of losses. All of our docks are covered, but the boats which do not belong to the Port, are not.
Mr. Nelson stated that Marina Staff continue to gather the required information. These boaters need to respond to the requirements in some form, by either providing everything needed for the law or communicating issues in obtaining the required insurance and registration to marina staff. If no response or documentation is provided, then moorage may not be provided. Marina staff is available for guidance on how to meet the requirements.
Commissioner Thompson asked if there is a timeline on response for these documents. Ms. Leraas responded that there is not a specific deadline, but each situation will be looked at if they are not able to provide the information at the time of renewal.
Western Hemisphere Ports Day
Gary Nelson reported on the Western Hemisphere Ports Day. April 5th was designated to celebrate Ports of all shapes and sizes. By providing a variety of services and opportunities for surrounding communities Ports are recognized for job creation and economic prosperity brought to their regions.
According to IHS World Trade Service, international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2014 totaled 3.48 billion MT and $3.75 trillion dollars. North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $2.39 trillion.
The economic value of all cargo in terms of overall business activity is much greater than the market value. According to Martin Associates, the total economic value of Port activity in the U.S. in 2014 was $4.6 trillion.
This will be promoted annually by AAPA and we will continue to support these efforts to promote the importance of Ports to the global economy.
Commissioner Thompson commented on the role of Port staff and Commissioners. Thousands of jobs are dependent on the Port doing our jobs well; we are part of a larger economy.
Leonard Barnes announced in March 2016 the Port handled six deep water ships and one barge which resulted in 133,347.580 MT of cargo. YTD import/export cargo totals 499,904.566 MT and total ship calls are 17 ships and 2 barges.
Marty Wicklund of A-1 Timber in Chehalis commented that they had been working with Port staff trying to come to a log export agreement. They have secured an offsite location to get logs ready to go, but Port pricing has become an issue. Mr. Wicklund stated that all of the costs for the prior tenant were much lower and that their truck drivers would be required to obtain TWIC cards while prior tenants did not have this requirement. As a company, he stated, they have excellent quality records and are concerned about costs. Ships going out boost the economy and they are not sure why the costs have increased so much. Mr. Wicklund feels the timber industry is in need of competition.
Commissioner Caldwell asked what the timeline might be if an agreement were to be reached. Mr. Wicklund said they would be ready to have logs on the dock in two to three weeks.
Dave Daggett of A-1 Timber spoke on their desire to reach an agreement for log export. He stated that their business is reasonable and fair and believes that there could be a more even distribution of costs so that it will make sense for their business as well as the Port. They are ready for business and would like to reach an agreement that would work for all.
Action Item No. 1
Robin Leraas reported on Westport Marina Tariff revisions. It has been five years since changes were proposed to increase charges and marina revenues. Included are documents that compare the old rates to new rates based on costs of operations and comparisons to similar marina facilities, staff recommend revisions to the Marina Tariff be adopted effective May 1, 2016.
The last major review of the Tariff was in 2012 and rates have not changed except for annual moorage pricing which was built into the tariff. These updates will address streamlining for easier billing and updates to put pricing in line with comparable marinas in the area. Also addressed is vessel and marina safety along with the new insurance requirements mandated by the State of Washington.
Commissioner Thompson asked about the open flame rule pointing out that many have diesel furnaces so this may rule many boats out. Mr. Blauvelt responded that if people are on board it is allowed, but flames must be extinguished if left unattended.
Commissioner Caldwell asked if this was presented to anyone else. The insurance portion is required by all marinas, but the increased costs involved were not addressed in the state mandate. The Commissioners would like more time to review the Tariff documents.
Motion to adopt the revisions to the Westport Marina Tariff rates, with allowance of further review of the full report of changes, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0 to approve the rate changes, with more time to review the full report document.
Fred Rapp of Elma commented on the Pair of Hearts Ball that took place in February. They raised about $36,000 for this fundraiser bringing the total gift they have raised for the Children’s Advocacy Center to over $212,000.
Mr. Rapp also commented on the insurance issues Marina staff is facing. He finds it frustrating that the state passed a law for this big change, but then offers no funding or insurance policy help for older boats that are difficult to insure.
Commissioner Pinnick recognizes Bob Peterson of the Ocean Shores City Council for attending the meeting today.
Gary Nelson went over a few dates for upcoming events.
• April 18 – Port will present for the Lions Club at Log Pavilion
• April 20 – First day of 4 week State Audit
• April 26 – Luncheon at GGHI
• April 29 – One day seminar at the Port of Portland AAPA
• May 5 – Tom Foster retiring from Coos Bay Rail
• May 11-13 – WPPA
Art Blauvelt mentioned that Friends Landing was awarded a 12 year aquatic lease which is of no cost to the Port.
There being no further business to come before the Commission, the Regular Meeting recessed at 10:43 a.m.
The Board then went into Executive Session to consider the acquisition, sale or lease of real estate and to discuss with Port’s legal counsel matters relating to agency enforcement actions, litigation or potential litigation. No action to be taken during Executive Session. It was announced that the Executive Session would last one and a half hours.
The Executive Session ended at 1:00 p.m. after one half hour extension, and the Regular Meeting adjourned at that time.