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The Port of Brookings Harbor — with its many of summer festivals, farmers markets and other events — has become a focal point for tourism in our area.
But operating festivals is not always a profitable business, as port officials recently discovered. That’s why they decided to rent space at the port and let independent organizations and individuals shoulder the risks.
It’s a smart decision, both financially and because the port lacked adequate staff trained to oversee special events. However, that decision was undermined by the port’s initial proposal to hike user fees astronomically, which in turn, sparked reasonable outrage from current event planners.
The port has since taken a step back and is re-evaluating the proposed fees — lowering them in some cases — and welcoming public input.
The issue of fees has pulled back the curtain to reveal a bigger problem: The port remains in deep financial trouble.
The question is, what can be done to reverse the situation?
The proposed event fees was a misstep, but the port is doing other things to address the revenue shortfall.
It recently purchased a new travel lift, which should help raise revenue in the long term. It is also making much-needed repairs to the ice house so it can operate more efficiently and service the commercial fishing industry.
The port is also holding more workshops, inviting the public into the process. We appreciate the transparency, and we encourage citizens to take advantage of these opportunities to help the port brainstorm additional ways to raise funds.
After all, everybody wants to see the port succeed and continue to draw tourists to the Southern Oregon Coast.