JH Kelly ironworker crews are close to half way through the job of constructing the port’s towering new work building. When completed later this year the $5.1 million, 90-foot tall structure will provide the yard with a contained, all-weather environment to conduct painting, sandblasting, welding and other work.
“It’s designed to take our large 660-ton mobile lift,” said Port Manager Bud Shoemake, “allowing it to move large commercial fishing vessels and other craft in and out easily. The building provides environmental controls for maintenance and construction work.”
Both the building and the big lift were funded in part with grant dollars from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Connect Oregon program, two of a series of projects that have expanded the yard’s scale and capabilities. An Oregon Business Development Department loan helped the port purchase the yard in 2010.
Shoemake credited good strategic planning with helping to attract additional state investment and driving decision making rooted in a solid market analysis. “Everything we’ve done is because of the plan,” he said.
Repair work at the Toledo yard has continued unabated despite the ongoing national health crisis and its impact on the larger economy. “We’re an essential business under the governor’s stay-at-home order,” Shoemake said, “and that’s certainly how our customers feel.”
The busy yard worked on 12 large fishing vessels over the past month, ranging from the 60-foot-long F/V Timmy Boy to the 111-foot F/V Hickory Wind, all of them handled by the port’s big lift. Another 15 smaller vessels were also worked using the port’s smaller 85-ton mobile lift, including the R/V Elakha, a 54-foot Oregon State University research vessel.
More work on other vessels - both Oregon-based and from out-of-state - is scheduled out for months in advance. Vessels from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Southeast Alaska have come to Toledo for their repair work in recent years. Once completed, the new building will add to the yard’s capabilities and attract additional business. “We’re busy, and we’ve been that way almost from the beginning,” Shoemake said.
“This is an important facility, not only for this community but for the Newport and Depoe Bay fishing fleet, as well as supporting the regional fishing fleet,” he added. “Without it, the central coast economy would lose millions of dollars in economic activity every year.”