Port of Port Townsend looks to centennial

Book, activities to mark 2024 anniversary

PORT TOWNSEND — Executive Director Eron Berg outlined plans for the Port of Port Townsend’s 100th anniversary in 2024 to commissioners.

“We’re going to begin shortly with some small programs as part of a plan for the next year,” he told commissioners at their workshop on Wednesday.

The port was formed by Jefferson County voters in 1924.

Plans include a book about the port’s first 100 years written by former Port Townsend Leader publisher Scott Wilson. The book will be about 200 pages and it will be equally divided between text and photographs using material from the port archives, the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Leader.

“We hope to have it published and ready for sale in the spring,” Berg said.

The plan is to have the book available at the Port Townsend Farmers Market, Airport Day at the Jefferson County International Airport, the Wooden Boat Festival and at other local events.

Among them will be the grand opening of the Point Hudson Marina in April to celebrate the completion of the north and south breakwater projects.

The port also is planning to host an event for former port employees and commissioners to acknowledge their contributions.

The Point Hudson breakwater project is expected to be completed on time in March even though the in-water work for rebuilding the south breakwater has been extended two weeks past the original Jan. 15 deadline, capital projects director and port engineer Matt Klontz said at the afternoon regular meeting.

Among the problems contractors have run into were laying armour stone to create a berm.

“Another challenge is not every pile is driving easily,” Klontz said. “They have driven 83 piles and three have encountered obstructions. But that’s to be expected with driving and they’re bringing in a new tool.”

Klontz updated commissioners on progress with the new A3 connector taxiway project at the airport.

It had received new markings and an area of the infield that used to pool with water is now dry due to stormwater improvements.

New signs are expected to be installed next week.

“I flew yesterday and could see where the drainage was,” Commissioner Pete Hanke said.

Short Farm

The port will host a tour of Short’s Farm on Jan. 17 that is open to the public.

In attendance will be port staff, the Short’s Farm steering committee and master’s students in the University of Washington School of Urban Planning who are assisting with the planning process. Port commissioners are also likely to attend.

The port purchased the 253-acre property in Chimacum in September for $1.4 million with the goal of helping support Jefferson County agricultural production and contributing to building a reliable food system.

Legislative session

Caron Cargill and Chelsea Hager of Insight Strategic Partners, the lobbying firm representing the port, presented via Zoom an overview of the upcoming 60-day legislative session in Olympia that runs from Jan. 8 through March 7.

Commissioners unanimously approved a list of legislative priorities that included capital budget requests for the Gardiner boat ramp, support for acquiring farmland and funding for aviation fuel tank removal and replacement.

Commissioners are particularly interested in pressing the state Legislature to fund the Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Removal Program, which disposes of abandoned or derelict recreational and commercial boats that can pose danger to human safety or the environment.

Also during the meeting:

• Port staff led by operations manager Chris Sparks are in the process of replacing the 600-foot-long linear dock at Point Hudson.

Among the tasks is removal of old Styrofoam and tire floats and replacing them with more environmentally friendly floats.

• Hanke, who was first elected commissioner in 2014, said he would probably not be seeking a fourth term. His current term ends in December 2025.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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