Port of Port Townsend to consider benches, rate hikes

Initial Jetty work slated for September

PORT TOWNSEND — Point Hudson has plenty of places for boats to pull into a slip or a dock but few places a person can find a seat to rest.

Lisa Widner presented her solution to the Port of Port Townsend commissioners at their Wednesday meeting last week by proposing a bench-building contest with the 12 winning entries installed on port property and each matched with a local business that would agree to cover the cost of its yearly maintenance.

“It’s hard to be against a place to sit down,” said Eron Berg, Port of Port Townsend executive director. “We need to determine locations, but I like the idea.”

District 3 commissioner Pete Hanke and District 2 commissioner Carol Hasse agreed, and staff were authorized to move forward with the project.

The meeting followed a morning work session to discuss the 2023 budget, and the challenges and uncertainties surrounding supply chain issues, rising construction costs and the need to seek rate increases at Point Hudson.

The port was looking at some cost increases, such as liability insurance, of as much as 10 percent over the previous year, Berg said.

Hanke said he was hesitant to impose more costs on boat owners.

“I’d like to fix it in other ways rather than increasing rates,” Hanke said. “If we had to, I would prefer a shallow [small] increase.”

That the port could likely lose revenue while jetty construction is underway was also a consideration.

“We need to be mindful of the Port Townsend boat culture; we’re not Kingston or Seattle,” Berg said. “But costs like utilities, labor, sanitation and disposal and fuel are increasing.”

Initial work on the two-stage process of replacing the Point Hudson jetties is scheduled to begin the second week of September, Berg said.

Capital projects director Matt Klontz said the port will hire a construction management consultant to oversee demolishing and replacement of the jetties.

Other reports at the meeting:

• Eric Toews, port deputy director, said the port is currently negotiating a professional services agreement with Kennedy Jenks for project management of the Boat Haven stormwater system improvement project that will address soil contamination and stormwater quality issues.

The port has been operating under a Level Three response action from the state Department of Ecology to improve drainage install a more effective filtration system.

• Klontz reported that an estimated 50-100 people went through the Sims Way Gateway and Boat Yard Expansion open house on Saturday.

Representatives from the project’s partners — Jefferson County PUD and the City of Port Townsend — were on hand to answer the public’s questions.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at [email protected]

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