Port of Brookings Harbor Interim Manager Kathy Lindley Hall canceled cardboard boat races scheduled Saturday during the Dog Days of Summer Brewfest citing safety issues.
However, Mike Frederick of Chetco Brewing Co. who sponsored the brewfest, said Hall called him at 10:48 a.m. Saturday and said she was canceling the event due to concerns about interference with sport boats and liability.
The races were scheduled to be held at 2 p.m.
“I don’t understand why at 10:48 the day of the event sport boats became a concern, and I doubt they talked to their lawyer or insurance agent on a Saturday morning,” Frederick said. “This is the worst management handling of a situation I have encountered in my adult life.”
Port Commissioner Richard Heap said he was informed about the reasons for the cancellation in an email after the decision was made; he cited a lack of people on kayaks or paddle boards to help boaters who foundered and a lack of stairs to get boaters out of the water and onto the docks. He added that water temperature was low over the weekend and might have created a hazard.
Frederick said those concerns were not mentioned in the call he received and no options were given for continuing the race. He said no one asked about safety precautions for the race.
Doug Lewis said he helps with the races and heard it was canceled while he was loading six boats. He said Hall mentioned safety and interference with sport boats when he called her after she spoke with Frederick but said even after he offered to resolve any issues she had, she still refused to let the event occur.
“We hired staff to go around town and sell sponsorships for the boats to help raise money for local animal shelters,” Frederick said. “And now we will have to go back to see if they want their money back.”
The cancellation hurt fundraising for the shelters, vendor profits and Chetco Brewing’s reputation, according to Frederick.
Hall said commissioners were not involved in the decision.
Cody Harrah, who built a boat with his brother and son, said he got the boat to the docks before being told the race was canceled.
“Just a bad show man. Sad that the port did this to us.
We worked hard, spent more than $150, had about 40 people coming to watch and never got to launch,” Harrah said. “It’s bad when people come from out of town and see something canceled the day of.”
According to Chetco Brewing’s website, the brewfest was a fundraiser for the South Coast Humane Society and Wild Rivers Animal Rescue. Chetco Brewing has sponsored three events at the port this year and has two more scheduled in September, Salmon Famine ‘18 and the Brookings Oregon Oktoberfest. The Saturday Market, also sponsored by Chetco Brewing, is held at the port from June through mid-October.
Reach Boyd C. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org .