Port of Port Townsend OKs project for Boat Haven

Commissioners also discuss Boat Haven jetty, Short Farm purchase

PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend commissioners approved a $210,000 professional services agreement with engineering firm Kennedy Jenks for stormwater improvements at Boat Haven that will bring the system into compliance with enhanced state Department of Ecology regulations.

Also discussed at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday was the status of the Boat Haven jetty and the possible purchase of Short Farm.

The port’s existing stormwater system has been modified over the years to capture, filter and convey runoff that contains oil, chemicals and contaminated soil from the boatyard, but it does not meet recently tightened boatyard permitting rules on copper pollution and turbidity.

The new biofiltration management system to be constructed by Kennedy Jenks will divert stormwater through vegetation and ponds on the surface of the ground before it filters down through layers of sand, gravel and other material until it is discharged as treated water.

“It’s similar to a rain garden,” said Matt Klontz, port capital projects director.

“It sounded like a really exciting opportunity for our port, mostly because we like things that are ecologically minded and this is using plant life. Big picture, this is something that we can maintain and it doesn’t require a lot of complicated systems (to operate).”

The $2,650,000 project is being paid for with $1,988,500 in American Rescue Plan Act State & Local Fiscal Recovery (APRA SLFR) funding and $661,500 in IDD funds. The $210,000 will be applied to Phase 1 of the two-phase project.

With replacement of the Hudson Point jetty well on its way, as Klontz reported to the commissioners, the port has turned its attention to the Boat Haven jetty, the oldest section of which was constructed in the 1930s and is in poor condition.

The port has $400,000 in its 2023 capital improvement project budget to completely repair the Boat Haven jetty, but staff determined a scaled-back project at a cost of $185,000 would be adequate, particularly when the longer-term goal is to replace it. The cost savings would be applied to begin design work on the replacement.

Port staff presented to the commissioners the possibility of transferring ownership of the Boat Haven jetty to the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and maintains the first 1,950 feet of the breakwater, while the port is responsible for remaining 550 feet.

“We’ve met with the Army Corps,” said Executive Director Eron Berg. “It’s a lengthy process and I feel like they’re open to it.”

However, the transfer would require federal authorization and the Port would most likely have complete repairs or replacement or before any hand-off occurred.

Commissioners said they had been fielding many questions from the public about the port’s proposed purchase of Short Farm, a 253-acre cattle farm in the Chimacum Valley that it announced in October.

“We’ve been receiving a lot of letters and people are very passionate about it,” Commissioner Pam Petranek said.

The port is preparing a page on its website with information about the Short Farm project and a presentation by Port staff will be given at the next commissioners workshop and meeting on Dec. 14. A public meeting at the Chimacum Grange will be held sometime in January 2023.

In other action, commissioners approved a revised organizational chart that shifted the role harbormaster to a non-union position.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at Paula.Hunt@soundpublishing.com

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