By Boyd C. Allen

In a contentious end to Tuesday’s meeting, the Port of Brookings Harbor board split its vote over Leroy Blodgett’s request for the port to take back a boat he purchased at auction this summer.

The board previously denied Blodgett’s offer, 4-1, at its November meeting.

Tuesday, Blodgett claimed the auctioneer had said the boat had two rebuilt engines. But he found the engines had both been seized and has since refused to take possession of the boat or pay storage fees to the port. He also said he would not take the boat or pay additional fees — leaving the port in possession of the vessel.

Board members then disputed Blodgett’s claims about the auctioneer’s statements and emphasized the written rules of the auction stating items were sold “as is.”

After discussions with Port Manager Gary Dehlinger and Skylar Windham about the cost and time required to put a lien on the boat, Commissioner Jan Barbas offered a motion to take the boat back and forgive the storage fees. The board defeated that motion, 3-2, with Barbas and Roy Davis voting yes.

In other news

The board offered a lease to Sarah Vietz of Uncorked Wine Bar and included two months free rent to provide time to install new flooring and other items. Vietz thanked the board for the offer, but said confusion over fees to be charged by the Harbor Sanitary District could dissuade her from accepting. She said an original estimate from the district of $13,000 was acceptable, but a revised quote of $23,000 could be prohibitive.

The board suggested she talk with sanitary district to clarify the fees.

•At President Angi Christian’s urging, the board agreed to invite the Oregon State Marine Board to its next meeting to discuss commercial unloading on various docks. OSMB grants paid for some of the port’s docks, and those grants stipulate how they can be used. Often, the grants do not allow commercial activity on certain docks.

•Commissioners voted to end their sponsorship of the KDRV weather cam and explore installing their own weather camera. The sponsorship currently costs the port $6,000 per year.

•The board also resolved to amend the budget to fund a new reach lift. The lift will replace the port’s aging crane.

•Andy Thomas reported from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting, noting a year-long seven-fish limit for bottom fish will be enacted next year. In November, the commissioners had signed a letter supporting these limits.

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