Impact of log yard detailed before port, Clallam commissioners

PORT ANGELES — The pivotal economic role of the Port of Port Angeles’ log yard was extolled Monday in a joint meeting of port and Clallam County commissioners.

Its virtues include hosting a customer that provides 80 percent of the wood fiber processed by Port Townsend Paper Corp., which manufacture kraft pulp, paper, containerboard and specialty products.

The Port and Clallam County commissioners met in joint session at the port administration building to discuss issues of common interest and hear a 50-minute presentation by port consultant and Peninsula College economics Professor Daniel Underwood of Olympus Consulting.

Underwood gave his report, “The Port of Port Angeles Log Yard: A Nexus for the Revitalization of Economic Welfare in Clallam County,” to port Commissioners Connie Beauvais, Colleen McAleer and Steve Burke and Clallam County Commissioners Bill Peach and Randy Johnson.

Underwood’s 11-month, $15,000 study covered the economic impact of the log yard and the forest products exported from and imported to the 25-acre waterfront site in 2016, the most recent complete year of payroll data for Clallam County.

“Some of those logs move by truck to places in Washington, some move by barge and raft to mills in Washington and Oregon,” Underwood said in a later interview.

The impact translates to 181 direct, indirect and induced jobs supported by the log yard, including 81 direct jobs that pay an average of $4,990 a month, or $60,000 a year, he said.

The direct jobs include port staff, log truck drivers, debarker operators and maritime workers.

Indirect jobs are in the supply chain, such as those covering truck maintenance, and induced jobs, which pay $22,000 a year, are in the general service economy, including store clerks and restaurant servers.

Directly dependent effects of the log yard are realized by the companies Port Angeles Hardwood; Interfor US Inc. west of Port Angeles; and Evergreen Fibre Inc., owned by Hermann Brothers Logging and Construction of Port Angeles.

Evergreen provides most of Port Townsend Paper’s fiber, Underwood said.

The three Clallam County companies get part or all of their wood from the log yard, or their forest products leave the log yard as wood chips, Underwood said.

The log yard supports 598 direct-effect, indirect and induced jobs at the three companies, including 256 direct jobs that pay an average of $53,000 a year, Underwood said.

That’s more than a third of the 662 total direct-effect jobs in Clallam County’s forest products industry, which when combined with indirect and induced effect employment, accounted for 1,515 jobs in the county’s forest products industry.

“Obviously, you see how important that cog of our port cog is, not just exporting, but importing, too,” port commissioner President Connie Beauvais said.

“We see it as still important and relevant today.”

Peach lauded the infrastructure provided by the log yard.

“It’s the infrastructure that provides the opportunity,” he said.

The log yard has a staff of eight employees and projected revenue of $2.2 million for 2019 compared to $2.1 million for 2018.

“We are fortunate that the strong log export market is expected to carry over into 2019,” port Executive Director Karen Goschen said Oct. 23 in her 2019 budget message to port commissioners.

“However, we are facing possible trade tariffs on logs originating form the U.S. and the effects on revenue are unknown at this time.”

Underwood said he based his analysis on a regional model provided by Implan, a Huntsville, N.C.-based provider of economic impact data and analytical software.

Underwood told the port and county commissioners he did not know how many of the people whose jobs are supported by the log yard are Clallam County residents.

“I don’t think they’re living in King County,” he quipped.

Underwood was confident that his analysis is valid for 2018, since there have been no major downward changes in log yard operations since then.

Log yard revenue in 2016 was $1.8 million, more than $300,000 less than is projected for 2018.

“In addition, we have new players,” he said in a later interview.

Gingko Trading LLC, a producer and trader of wood chips, has started operating in Port Angeles and will be moving to port facilities in the waterfront, Underwood said.

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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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