If all goes as planned, a gas station for boats and cars at the Port of Brookings Harbor could be up and running as early as May, said Port Manager Russ Crabtree.

And the price of gas at the port is likely to be less than what gas stations in Brookings-Harbor are currently charging, he said.

Our goal is to bring balance to the community, Crabtree said. Right now there is no balance when it comes to gas prices.

The port is also considering including a convenience store at the fueling station.

Its a possibility, but if we do it, it will be privately operated, Crabree said.

During a special meeting Friday, the ports board of commissioners rejected the bids of two companies wanting to build the fueling station. The commission decided the port will do the project itself, serving as its own general contractor and sub-contracting the work out to various firms, Crabtree said.

The project will cost the port approximately $232,000 about $23,000 less than the lowest bid offered by an independent firm.

Portland-based Triad Mechanical Inc. offered to do the project for $254,930, which was $3,400 lower than the bid submitted by JR Merit Inc. of Vancouver, Wash.

The port, which has already received $400,000 in state funding for the project, hopes to complete it in May. The work will include installing underground fuel tanks, sidewalks and the gas pumps.

Im tickled to death about doing this, said Board Chairman Lloyd Whaley. Crabtree credited Whaley for coming up with the idea to expand the fueling station to include motor vehicles.

I was getting tired of the big oil distributors cheating the residents of our community, Whaley said. Were not doing this to make money, I just want to service the community.

His only concern was whether the port will be able to meet the demand for fuel once the station is operating.

As for the price of gas, Crabtree said Were going to be right up front with the price for everyone to see.

The port plans to post signs that will break down the costs of the gas, including what the port pays the refinery, for delivery, and state and federal taxes.

I want to put the signs where they can be visible from cars on the Chetco River bridge, Crabtree said.

He said he has been communicating with refineries in Portland and Los Angeles.

Based on current information, he said the port would be able to buy gas wholesale from 54 cents to 70 cents a gallon. State and federal taxes add up to approximately 26 cents per gallon. It would cost about 20 cents per gallon to truck the fuel from Portland or Los Angeles.

The port would mark up the gas to about $1.15 or $1.20 per gallon to cover expenses such as employing gas attendants and maintenance.

A gas attendant will be necessary because Oregon law prohibits motorists from pumping their own gas. The station would be open limited hours, but Crabtree said he would like to have it open early in the morning so people going to work can fuel up.

The fueling station will be located at the end of the transient dock, across the entrance to Boat Basin II from the U.S. Coast Guard station. A temporary gas tank was placed at the site so commercial and recreational boats could get fuel.

Crabtree said the port cannot make more than $11,000 profit a year on the gas station. If it did, the $400,000 in state funding it received to pay for it and other projects would automatically convert into a loan.

As for the port getting into the gas business, he said its possibly because of the ports hybrid nature, which is unlike other local government agencies.

Were a public entity, but state statutes allow port districts to do private ventures, he said. Were allowed to build things like restaurants and hotels things that contribute to the communitys economic infrastructure.

According to The Oregon Public Ports Association, the states 23 public ports are unique organizations of local government, which serve both public and private purposes.

The rush to build the fueling station was originally spurred by the August closure of Eureka Fisheries, which operated the only station at the port.

Citizen complaints about the high cost of gas at gas stations in Curry County also fueled the idea, Crabtree said.