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Port Terminates Shop Lease With Shrimp Daddy

Last week the Port of Alsea board of commissioners approved to terminate the lease for Mike Gatens, owner of Shrimp Daddy, as of March 31, 2023. Mike has been leasing a shop space from the port near the Alsea Bay for shrimp processing since 2014. According to Roxie Cuellar port manager, the port is wanting to use the shop to build and repair crab pots and for making crab measuring devices. Cuellar and the port board have accused Mike's employees falsely of drug use. During the port meeting Mike showed the board that he had drug tested all of his employees and everyone showed negative for any drugs.

Mike said he is doing his best to try and stay positive, despite the false accusations and negativity from the port and their employees. "I have tried to stay positive, despite being targeted especially on social media." He added he felt that the board had made up their minds about terminating the lease before the meeting. He didn't feel that they would listen to anything that he or his supporters had to say.

Cuellar stated that they want to use the space themselves so they don't have to pay taxes on it, which they do if the space is rented out. One of Mike's customers, a major supplier of shrimp throughout the northwest, sent a letter to the Port Commission explaining what a hardship it would create if they were no longer able to get shrimp from Shrimp Daddy. This decision not only affects the 4-6 employees that work for Shrimp Daddy, but could also cause the loss of jobs to their company as well.

When the business Dock of the Bay came out of probate after the owner passed away Mike said he tried to lease the space from the port and they turned him down stating they had others uses for the space. The port purchased the business and currently runs this business renting boats, selling fishing and crab bait, rents crab pots and cooks crab. This is in direct competition with Shrimp Daddy that operates a bait shop and crab cooking facility a block away.

During public comment at the end of the meeting things got heated when those who were talking were interrupted by others who disagreed with what they were saying. Port supporters chastised citizens for speaking out against the port board volunteers. When Jim Robinson tried to talk to port commissioners about his concerns he was interrupted over three times by Cuellar and each time he asked her to please not interrupt and let him talk as it was his time to speak to the board. He stated he strongly disagreed with the port competing with private businesses who are making or repairing crab pots, cooking crab and selling bait. Ryan Pankey , a family member of board member Buster Pankey, yelled at Jim and called him a "pompous ass".

Others who spoke during public comment expressed dissatisfaction with not enough space at the dock for crabbing, and lack of slip space available for locals. Kurt Saindon, said he started a petition to recall the board but has since withdrawn it hoping that the board would "come to their senses and do what’s right. Opening the outer dock for crabbing and letting handy capped people rent which ever is the closest available slip to the gangway despite length of vessel."

He wants the port to encourage any and all commerce and event opportunities at the port not shut it down in worry of parking. He really wants the port to have all the opportunity to change their decisions and let the people have access to their docks like before. As for the future of Shrimp Daddy, Mike said he is actively working to find a new place to house his shrimp processing business.

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