Port: Issues with local transients disappear

By Don Iler, Pilot staff writer October 23, 2013 08:23 am

The homeless are no longer a problem at the Port of Brookings Harbor, at least according to port Manager Ted Fitzgerald and Commissioner Mike Manning. 

The reason, they said, is the relocation of the Curry County Sheriff’s substation to the port and the implementation of a no trespassing ordinance. 

“I’m hard pressed to find any homeless at the port now,” Fitzgerald said during a recent port commissioners meeting.

Manning said the change was very visible and that there had been a big difference. 

Fitzgerald said that previously when he came to the port at night, he could be chasing around the homeless for a long time, but that he doesn’t see them anyone when he comes to the port now. In September, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office moved its substation to the port, after concerns had been raised about a lack of law enforcement presence there. The port commission also enacted a trespassing ordinance during its August meeting to crack down on trespassing and causing disturbances. 

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In other business, the commission discussed going forward with the port’s strategic plan, increased maintenance costs at the port and putting in a fence near the industrial areas of the port. 

During his manager’s report at the meeting, Fitzgerald mentioned the port is going forward with contracting putting together a strategic plan for the port with a $50,000 received from the state’s Business Development Department. He estimated the plan would be complete in four to six months and that the port would need to contribute $17,000 to pay for the plan. 

The state requires that all ports in the state have strategic plans to ensure that all of the individual port plans line up with the state’s overall strategic plan. 

The port will also install a fence around the industrial areas in the port. The fence comes after the death of Harlen Wade Smith, who is suspected to have fallen into the water near the industrial area. Fitzgerald said the fence would be finished in the next few weeks.

When going over the port’s budget, it was noted that the port did not have any income from liveaboards for the month of September. The port has accepted no new liveaboards, while allowing those who lived there to remain until they leave. Rent for liveaboards is a moorage fee plus an additional percentage.

“It is not in the port’s best interest to accept new liveaboards,” Fitzgerald said when asked after the meeting. “The port loses money on every single liveaboard.”

The commissioners of the Port of Brookings Harbor meet the third Tuesday of every month.