Taking steps to address the perceived rise in thefts and issues with transients, the Port of Brookings Harbor board of commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday evening allowing police or port officials to exclude people from port property.
The resolution, which aims to crack down on trespassing, intoxicated individuals and those causing a nuisance, now gives police or port officials a process to exclude those creating problems.
The resolution allows the port to exclude people from port property for up to six months, if these individuals exhibit one of the prohibited behaviors listed in the ordinance, which range from panhandling and visible intoxication to riotous and disorderly conduct. Individuals will not be fined and will have an opportunity to appeal the exclusion, if an appeal is submitted with five days of the exclusion order.
“Intoxicated transients are a major source of calls,” said Sheriff John Bishop during the meeting.
There had been 80 calls for service in the port in 2012, and 63 so far this year, according to Bishop.
Recently, the port had looked at a contract with the city of Brookings to have the Brookings Police Department patrol the port. This was in response to the perceived increase in problems at the port as well as concern about the county’s problems with funding the sheriff’s department, which has left four deputies to patrol all of Curry County. The port is in the unincorporated part of Curry County and the sheriff’s department has responsibility in patrolling the port.
“The bums, homeless and crooks know there is no coverage,” said Jim Relaford, port commissioner. “If the county levy doesn’t pass, we’ll be in the same or worse problem.”
The sheriff’s department is moving a substation to the port, which will be fully operational by Sept. 15. The port is providing rent-free space, and it is thought that the increased law enforcement presence by having the substation there will cut down on crime in the port.
In other business:
•The commission moved to table Resolution 439, which would authorize the port to contract for police services. It was tabled due to unresolved legal questions about the resolution and whether the port would have the legal authority to contract with another governmental agency to provide police services. Oregon statutes allow for ports to establish police agencies, but is unclear about contracting for police services.
•The port commission passed a resolution approving a grant application to Oregon Business Development Department in order to fund the port’s strategic planning process.
•Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald reported that the sheriff’s substation was almost complete, and progress was being made in finding funding from the state to dredge the South Coast ports. He also reported higher volumes of fuel sales at the port and the port reported a $78,000 net profit for the month of July, which Relaford described as the best month he’s seen since being with the port.
The Port of Brookings Harbor board of commissioners meets again at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Best Western conference room in Harbor.