By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Port of Brookings Harbor Harbormaster Travis Webster said the port should either agree to a contract with Carson Oil to clean and polish the port’s fuel, and clean, refurbish and paint the fuel tanks or stop selling diesel and gasoline.

According to Webster and Interim Port Manager Kathy Lindley Hall, the tanks have accumulated sediment to the point where continued use would place customers’ boats in jeopardy of damage from contaminants in the fuel.

Port of Brookings Harbor commissioners voted to have Carson clean and refurbished the port’s fuel tanks and polish the fuel at a cost not to exceed $45,000.

According to the Clean Fuels Associates website, cleaning a a diesel fuel storage tank involves four steps:

• Pumping the water, sludge and debris from the tank bottom and properly disposing of it.

• Filtering the fuel with a three-stage process.

• While filtering, introducing chemical cleaners into the fuel tank to remove any varnish or sludge.

• Treating the fuel with a combination of chemicals to enhance life and performance. These include (but are not limited to) a fungicide, algaecide and stabilizer.

• Fuel polishing uses centrifuges, coalescers and filters to remove any particulate matter that is non-combustible.

Harbor Sanitation issues

A letter from the Harbor Sanitation District (HSD) Board Chair Anthony Burkett dated Sept. 12 threatened to disconnect the port’s sewage if the port commissioners failed to submit a plan to permanently stop sand infiltration at the port by Oct. 2.

Beach sand enters the sewage system at the port through floor drains at the RV park restrooms. The drains are in the outer area of the rooms and in the showers.

At an earlier meeting, port employee Brent Ferguson had suggested the port plug the drains and close the showers.

Webster said this was the cheapest and best option given that the plan has to be submitted by Oct. 2.

“Close them down and then plan to do a full remodel, or build new restrooms,” he said. “This gives us time.”

He and Hall noted a prefabricated cement restroom with showers and toilets would cost $205,000.

Commissioner Ken Range said he likes the plan because it stops HSD from shutting down part of the port, and in the long term, the port can look at adding a convenience store and a laundromat at the RV park to earn money and support upgrades such as new restrooms.

He and Hall also discussed the possibility of the port applying for grants from the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation to pay for new restrooms.

The commissioners voted to have Webster propose a plan to HSD including plugging the floor drains in the RV park restrooms, closing the showers there and placing diversion barriers outside the doors.

Range said, “Get this back to Harbor Sans and put the ball back in their court.”

The plan will be acted on immediately if HSD approves it.

Loans

In a discussion permitted off the agenda, Hall and Range referred to research Hall was doing to determine if the Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) loan for the vacant port building – the Green Building – would forgive interest when the principal was paid.

Hall said loan documents indicated the interest could be forgiven but not that it would happen automatically.

Hall added she could produce proof or easily prove the IFA gave loans to the port knowing there was no way the port could pay them back.

Range asked her to wait to do so. “I may have some more ammunition on this,” he said.

Range could not be reached for comment on the loans, and Hall said she had no comment.

Port meeting Sept. 18

Port of Brookings Harbor board discusses safety issues

Boat owner and port patron Craig Wilcox said he worried about security at the port because Knight Security, who patrols the port at night, does not employ searchlights to illuminate the dock, many of the the dock-lights do not function and the port has no way to secure the gates to the docks.

The ease of access to the docks led to a violent altercation recently, he said, when Kevin Wayne King, 44, an escapee from the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville was arrested after stealing from boats

A few older liveaboard residents confronted him, according to Wilcox, and one of the men pulled a knife on King and another hit him with a paddle, but at least one of the residents was injured as well.

He feared someone could have been seriously hurt and said King had threatened to come back and seek revenge.

Police reports state King was forced into the water where he was rescued and arrested by a Curry County sheriff’s deputy.

Wilcox asked for security measures including a card-slide type system for access to the docks, better lighting and patrols and combination locks on the bathrooms.

Board President Roy Davis concurred that security was an issue noting Best Western was only employing one security person and he is asked to do other duties as well.

Best Western Manager Karie Wilson said the hotel has two employees doing security and other duties at night but has not experienced security issues.

Security problems are only going to get worse though, according to Davis.

He said he had seen a large group of homeless people gathered at the Chetco Community Public Library lot with RVs and a trailer earlier in the week.

“Today,” he said, “that RV was at the beach.” Sporthaven Beach abuts port property.

The board agreed to have Hall get estimates for dock-gates and bathroom locks.

Fishermen’s issues

Fisherman John Marrington said many of the tuna this year are too small to sell to processors forcing commercial fishermen to sell them off the docks.

He complained the port’s fee for selling off the dock – $150 – hurt them unnecessarily after they had already paid dock fees and a state licensing fee of $102.

It serves no purpose but to take money from us and give it to the port, he added, and it hurts people like us who are bringing people to the port.

Marrington finished by noting the bathrooms near the commercial docks were being used by transients and were “so gross that I am afraid I will catch something.”

In other port news

The board voted to develop an RV park master plan including needs of employees and customers and focusing on the bathrooms, the addition of a laundromat and improvements to the sewage and electrical systems.

CPA Signe Grimstad of Grimstad and Associates resigned as the port’s auditor citing difficulties hiring adequate numbers of staff and the upcoming deadline for filing the audit with the Oregon Division of Audits.

Hall said Grimstad was having difficulty hiring staff to fulfill the needs of her clients and added the port had sent out seven requests for bids to do the audit, but none of the companies had responded. She planned to follow up with those companies as soon as possible.

Port attorney Martha Rice reported the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on homelessness will affect the port. Rice said the port is public property and according to the court’s ruling cannot force the homeless to leave if there is no shelter available. She noted there are no homeless shelters in Brookings or Harbor.

The court sided with six homeless people from Boise, Idaho, who sued the city in 2009 over a local ordinance that banned sleeping in public spaces.

According to the court, cities can’t prosecute people for sleeping on the sidewalks or other public areas if they have nowhere else to go because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, which is unconstitutional.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com

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