Posted September 23, 2019
Pier improvements, long-awaited dredging to start soon
The Port of Siuslaw has had a busy summer —installing new camping sites, reinforcing a large segment of the grounds that meets the northern bank of the Siuslaw river, unexpectedly hosting the city’s annual July fireworks presentation and prepping for a $150,000 upgrade to the walkway behind the Mo’s and ICM restaurants. These projects have all been handled while maintaining and running a mostly full campground and marina.
As the off-season approaches, the list of things to do during the lull remains lengthy.
“We’ve had an excellent summer,” said Port Manager Dave Huntington. “Fishing and weather has been very good, for the most part, and we’ve had a better than expected season. We have a lot of big projects going on this year which will start to get a lot more of our attention now that our busy season is finally winding down.”
Huntington said his staff has been busy, but they have accomplished everything asked of them and more.
“Everyone here has worked very hard this year and taken on a lot of additional responsibilities with the number of projects we’re trying to complete. We have a very small staff, but they all care about what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “I can’t say enough about how dedicated the staff are to this port and how much pride they take in their accomplishments and I feel very fortunate to have them.”
The most noticeable of the continuing efforts to improve the Port of Siuslaw property will be the upgrade and reinforcement of the pier and walkway that separates Mo’s and ICM from the river.
Oregon Marine Construction has been awarded the contract for the repair and upgrade and project manager Brien Mill says the on-site work is about to begin.
“We have been working on the fabrication of the metal that will face the river. It is a version of the bridge that I think will look really good behind Mo’s, as people walk on the pier by the river,” he said.
Mill and his team are also prepping the underwater part of the site, cleaning the area of miscellaneous materials dragged to the location from upriver.
“We have been clearing the underwater area of the debris that has accumulated over the years and we should be able to get started soon on the main installation,” he said. “We kind of held up a bit so we wouldn’t interfere with Rods ‘N’ Rhodies last weekend and we also wanted people to be able to walk by the river and see the bridge.”
Huntington believes the modification project will proceed smoothly, hopefully inconveniencing the public for only a short time.
“We should be starting demolition on the Mo’s walkway on Monday, and we’re hoping to have a new walkway installed and completed in a couple weeks,” he said.
The most important, but perhaps less noticeable effort, will be the long-awaited dredging of some navigable parts of the Siuslaw River and at the Port of Siuslaw.
The Siuslaw River is more than 100 miles long and carries soil runoff and other loose materials from the valley to the Pacific Ocean. The ocean tides and river current moves hundreds of thousands of gallons of water through that area every day. The residue from that movement builds up over the years and makes navigating into and out of the port difficult and, in some cases, impossible.
Huntington updated Port of Siuslaw Commissioners at the group’s monthly meeting on Wednesday on the application for permit the port filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“We are in the final stages of the permit process to be able to dredge,” he said. “It’s a 10-year permit which allows us to dredge our marina. Our ‘in the water’ work window would be between Nov. 15 and Feb. 15, 2020.
For the project, Port of Siuslaw would partner with Business Oregon for the use of the state-owned dredge operated by the Port of Coos Bay.
“We have not dredged in 10 years now, and for normal maintenance dredging, we’re about 5 years overdue — and it shows,” Huntington said. “We have boat slips that are unusable at times because they sit in the mud on low tides, also causing damage to the docks. The port has made this a priority and we’re working very hard to complete this project.”
The next Port of Siuslaw Commissioners meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct.16, at Mapleton High School, at 10868 East Mapleton Road.
For more information, visit portofsiuslaw.com.