By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Port of Brookings Harbor commissioners promoted port employee Travis Webster to harbormaster Tuesday at a special meeting.

Interim Manager Kathy Lindley Hall praised Webster’s work, saying he had taken the lead in the marina and boatyard.

“Staff have held this place together but we need to have someone in the field with authority,” she said. “And Travis fits the bill.”

Commissioner Roy Davis complimented Webster, as well, saying he had worked with him for years and found he works well with people and knows the port.

Davis said, “It’s time to have a legitimate position of harbormaster, someone who can run things and make decisions.”

The board also appointed port bookkeeper Kim Boom to budget director. As budget director, she will work with the budget committee to establish the budget for next year.

The board is now seeking volunteers for two positions on the budget committee. One member will replace President Angi Christian who, as a commissioner, can no longer serve on port committees.

Commissioner Jan Barbas said the other position is held by John Brazil, who would prefer to quit but will continue to serve if no one seeks the position.

Unloading issues

Commissioners took up unloading issues again after Webster asked to designate areas for such work on port docks.

Webster noted 37 vessels needed to unload seafood to supply Pacific Ocean Harvesters and without a public hoist, there was nowhere to conveniently do so.

The board directed Webster to develop a free permit for the vessels and designate unloading areas in Basin 1 but ensure docks funded by the Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) were not used. The OSMB forbids commercial activity on their docks.

Port rates

The board opened discussion on the port’s published rate schedules with Hall urging commissioners to hold rates down, especially moorage rates on commercial fisherman.

“The commercial fleet brings in millions of dollars and if we drive anyone away with higher rates, we are killing the town,” she said.

Barbas suggested refining the accounting to see if the marina was breaking even.

Port staff agreed to do so and, after concerns about fuel rates were raised, added researching the annual profit and loss records for the fuel dock accounting for fuel, labor and equipment costs.

Commissioner Roger Thompson suggested charging an additional dock or launch fee to guides and charters who use the facilities more frequently.

Barbas recommended leaving RV Park rates unchanged because they had rescinded winter discounts and the park had not lost business.

Christian suggested they revisit the minimum liability coverage the port demands of tenants and vessels after they compare board minimums with other ports. She feared they had raised coverage expectations excessively last year.

Currently, tenants carry $2 million in liability, and commercial vessels carry $1 million, up from $1 million and $500,000.

In other actions

•The board voted to disband two subcommittees, one dealing with dock and contract issues and another addressing litigation. Commissioners said they were no longer necessary because the port now had an interim manager to do that work.

•Hall said she spoke with Harbor Sanitary Board Manager Kelly Bebee to learn about system development charges and discuss concerns raised by port tenants.

•Port employees Webster and Brent Ferguson earned certification in rough-terrain forklift operation.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com .

19774885