Dick Watrous appointed to Ilwaco port board; two ports to cooperate

Dick Watrous of Vandalia has been selected by Port of Ilwaco Commissioners Frank Unfred and Jim Stiebritz to fill the commission seat of Paul Polillo, who retired recently. Watrous will be on the primary ballot Sept. 16. A gathering is scheduled before the next Port of Ilwaco Commission meeting Monday, Aug. 18, at 3:30 p.m. to honor Polillo's long service. NANCY BUTTERFIELD photo

PORT OF ILWACO - Port of Ilwaco commissioners welcomed Dick Watrous to the commission table Monday. Watrous was appointed to take the place of longtime commissioner Paul Polillo, who retired recently, and will officially take office at the end of this month.

A Vandalia resident for 22 years, Watrous has been a charter fisherman and served as a port commissioner at the Port of Camas-Washougal for six years and managed the port for a year.

An informal farewell party for Polillo will be held before the Aug. 14 commission meeting, beginning at about 3:30 p.m.

Peninsula ports agree to cooperative efforts

Howard Teague, manager of the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta, asked the Ilwaco commissioners to support his efforts to obtain a higher ranking on the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Team funding list.

In exchange, Teague offered to support moving Ilwaco's harbor dredging rank from eighth to No. 2 on the list, "Providing peer-to-peer support when we go to Pacific Council of Governments for funding." Teague also complimented the Port of Ilwaco on "turning its facility around and having the harbor full of boats again."

Commissioners approved the proposal. "Any way we can help you out," said Commissioner Frank Unfred.

Port Manager Mack Funk added that, since dredging is moving along at a good pace, other port projects such as dock reconstruction could be boosted to a higher priority on the list.

"If we don't start repairing some of the docks, we'll have to lay off employees," he said. "If we can get the WACERT process working for us, we could get funding for labor and materials and get it done."

"We're chipping away at dredging this year and next year," Commissioner Jim Stiebritz said. "We've been getting compliments on the dredging, so I'm for it. Some of our docks are in ill repair."

Teague, who serves on the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, said the agency could be funding up to $1 million for projects, with a 25 percent matching instead of the usual 33 percent.

"There's a stronger chance the funds will be available for 2004," he said. "Maybe you could figure out how to get the dredging done before you build new docks."

Reports on budget, safety, airport, garbage

Port Financial Director Mary DeLong laid out this year's budgeting schedule for commissioners, saying "We've set a goal not to spend into our reserves this year. It will take hard work and sharp pencils."

The final budget will be adopted in late October.

Harbormaster Jamie Sowers reported her concerns with safety on the port's docks. She said several incidents of injury to people on the docks have been reported. A man stepped through dock boards, she said, and two people have walked into anchors and bowsprits overhanging the docks.

"We're asking the boat owners to move their vessels back from the docks," she said, adding that if customers see safety problems on the docks to report them to port officials.

Continuing her report, Sowers said a beacon at the Ilwaco Airport has been out of commission, "possibly for years." She said parts are no longer made for the light and a new one would cost $4,000 so port crews managed to repair the beacon which is functioning again.

The port's ongoing problem with excessive garbage came up for discussion again during the meeting.

"It's a terrible mess," Watrous said. "The cans are full by Sunday morning and birds and dogs are scattering it."

Sowers said Peninsula Sanitation crews don't pick up garbage on weekends and suggested purchasing more garbage cans and, during the summer, moving full cans to another area to wait for pickup.

Unfred said if the garbage could be compacted it would take up about a third less room, prompting Sowers to suggest purchasing a garbage truck for the port.

Meanwhile, "We'll do extra emphasis on dealing with it on weekends," she said.

New rest facility at port close to finished

DeLong reported that the new restroom/public pavilion project is "getting real close to completion."

She said the engineers and contractor did a walk-through of the project Tuesday. An ongoing problem with plugged toilets in the facility is "unacceptable," she said, suggesting different, high-pressure flush toilets may be the answer.

Since the public pay-for-use showers opened July 3, Delong said, the port has taken in $395.

"That would pay for a new toilet," Funk quipped, adding that "the overall facility is excellent."

Port prefers option D for national park

Funk asked commissioners to approve sending a letter to the National Park Service, urging the agency to accept Alternative D in its recent study of the expansion of Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon to the Washington side of the river to include historic Lewis and Clark Expedition sites at Megler, Station Camp and Fort Canby.

"The four alternatives range from do nothing to the most elaborate, Alternative D, which calls for naming the expanded park Lewis and Clark National and State Historic Parks," Funk said. "We have beautiful things to show off here and the area deserves national attention."

NPS has scheduled an open house and workshop Wednesday at the Fort Columbia Theater to discuss the alternatives.

DeLong announced that 19 vessels from the Portland Yacht Club will be arriving at the port on Wednesday and that port merchants have prepared "bags of goodies" for the yachters.

Funk said "bad odors" have been surfacing at the port during the past weeks of hot and dry weather. Port crews tracked down the source of the smell to people dumping ice chests containing fish remains into catch basins.

"We're trying to get control of the problem," he said. "It's definitely improved."

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