Posted on January 1, 2024
The Port of Brookings Harbor is wrapping up an important transitional year ahead of major developments, as operators have secured multi-million-dollar funding for a handful of major projects in 2024 and beyond.
The port, which has been a cornerstone of the Brookings local economy, continues to be a huge draw for the city. Offering safe mooring and docking to over 100,000 vessels each year and continues to be both the safest and most popular of its kind on the Oregon Coast, according to port operators.
Between local fisherman and traveling recreationalists, the harbor remains a hot spot thanks to its ease of access to the Pacific Ocean and the Chetco River. There fisherman can hope to haul a wide variety of fish, from snapper, cod, halibut, and seasonal salmon to the regional favorite Dungeness crab.
The Port’s property also includes extensive RV and camping amenities, in addition to the full-service marina, and covers a region of over 400 square miles.
Brookings Port Manager Travis Webster said between the marina, campgrounds, services, and other real estate, the port generate an estimated 3.5 million annually.
Webster credits the port team for success in 2023.
“All the credit goes to our excellent team,” Webster said, “Is was a big year of transition, we had a lot of people taking on new positions.”
The new positions included Webster himself, who assumed Port Manager duties for the first time this year.
“We created new office positions, including a project manager position, which was a massive help,” Webster said, “Everyone really stepped up, and we were able to get people trained without any hiccups from a business perspective.”
Into the future
The timing could not have been better, with a host of major developments on the horizon, installing a project manager and beefing up office staff was pertinent for the company this year, according to Webster.
The first development on the docket is a two-part operation.
“There’s 38,000 cubic yards of debris in the port from the major storms in 2019 that needs dredging,” explained Webster.
In conjunction with FEMA guidelines, the Port of Brookings Harbor will also be installing storm barriers and other preventative measures.
Dredging is a crucial mode of upkeep that most ports require when storms and accidents bring foreign objects into the harbor, but its one with huge environmental accountability attached. When certain kinds of fish are present in the harbor, dredging cannot be conducted, as they may be sucked up by the machinery.
“We have all the equipment and are finalizing the training for our guys,” Webster said. We’re hoping to get in two solid months of dredging while the window is open” Webster said, insisting that the port operation would not be compromised in any way by the process.
The first dredging period will occur in January, with another to follow in October. The port will also bolster its disaster prevention and reduction measures, as a part of the same project. With an allocated budget of $2.4 million, these developments will make the harbor safer in the long-term and will provide more robust protection against flooding and other potential storm-related damage, according to Webster.
Water treatment project
The other major port project will be a new wastewater treatment plant. With an estimated budget of $3.5 million, including a needed match of $800,000, the installment of the new plant is designed to ease any burdens on the local water supply. Further waste treatment facilities with support from the state will assist in strengthening water infrastructure and expanding access to clean water.
The bulk of the major on-site development will not begin until June, according to the schedule laid out on the Port of Brookings Harbor website.
“The projects are thankfully all approved, so we’ll be able to move forward with confidence,” said Webster, who added he is grateful to be able to focus on the developments.
A crucial part of the history, culture, and economy of Brookings, Webster is hopeful the expanded Port of Brookings Harbor will continue to bring crucial recreational tourism and commercial business to the city for years to come.
Brookings and Harbor are located in Curry County, snuggled in Oregon’s southwest corner.
Bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by California and on the east by the magnificent Siskiyou Mountains, it is one of the most pristine and rugged; one of the most inviting and picturesque places in the American Northwest, according to the Port of Brookings Harbor website.
“Approximately ninety miles long and forty miles wide, every footstep of the length of this westernmost spot in the contiguous United States touches spectacular coastline, craggy headlands, rocky outcroppings and smooth, sandy beaches,” the website states.