Port of Port Angeles commissioners are expected to talk about how interested they are in selling the John Wayne Marina in Sequim today. It was photographed last year following a snowstorm. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Port of Port Angeles commissioners are expected to talk about how interested they are in selling the John Wayne Marina in Sequim today. It was photographed last year following a snowstorm. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Port of Port Angeles to discuss developer’s inquiry on John Wayne Marina

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles commissioners will discuss how interested they are in selling John Wayne Marina when they meet in regular session at 9 a.m. today.

The meeting is at the port administrative building, 338 W. First St., Port Angeles.

Port Executive Director Karen Goschen said Saturday the agenda item resulted from an unsolicited inquiry from a developer, whose name and city of residence she would not release, who asked if the port would consider selling the marina east of Sequim.

He has “some general ideas” about what he wants to do with the marina that Goschen said she will discuss today with the commissioners.

“We don’t have an offer,” Goschen said.

“I have an inquiry as to whether the port would consider an offer.”

Goschen said the developer will draw up a proposal if the port is open to the idea.

“He does not want to put any time into it if there is no interest,” she said.

“He is interested in developing a proposal, and I told him there would have to be a public process, and I did not know what the public process would look like, and that I have to have a conversation with the commissioners.

“I know this is going to be a sensitive topic,” she said.

Goschen said she had discussed, with port lawyer Simon Barnhart, bringing the inquiry to the commissioners’ attention at a public meeting.

“If they want me to gather more information, I’ll gather more information,” she said.

“If they say don’t put any staff time into it, I won’t put any staff time into it.”

Some John Wayne Marina tenants have in the past suggested forming a limited liability corporation to purchase the marina, Goschen said.

Goschen said the marina has never been on the market and the port has never looked for a purchaser.

Improvements will be needed at the facility in coming years, including rehabilitating or replacing floats, she said.

The sale of the marina became a campaign issue in the November 2017 general election between Sequim-area District 1 port Commissioner Colleen McAleer and challenger Michael Cobb.

McAleer estimated during the campaign that float replacement would cost $7 million to $10 million.

“It is incredibly important to keep it as the ‘jewel of the county,’ ” McAleer said Saturday in a text message.

“We will talk about a public process to gather input if we move forward to consider an offer.

“I’d also like to know how much capital this buyer would invest into the marina beyond maintenance to improve it from its current state.

“The advantage of a sale is that it could potentially free up port funds to invest in job creation on the east end of the county in some sort of project — that’s why I’m willing to listen.”

John Wayne Marina was constructed in the mid-1980s on 22 acres of land donated by the family of John Wayne.

The late actor visited Sequim Bay waters on his yacht, the Wild Goose, and made it known that he envisioned a marina there, according to port officials.

The marina has 300 slips, 222 of which were occupied for a 74 percent occupancy rate as of January, according to port records.

There was a waiting list as of January of five boaters who wanted 36-foot slips, two who wanted 40-foot slips and one who wanted a 42-foot slip.

The other port-owned marina, Port Angeles Boat Haven, has 442 slips, 273 of which were occupied for a 59 percent occupancy rate in January.

There was no waiting list, and 57 of 57 slips for 20-foot boats were vacant, as were 41 of 80 slips for 30-foot boats.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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