The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's research fleet is going to Newport.

Astoria was one of the contenders for the location and several local governments lobbied for the ships to be located on the North Coast.

Today's announcement came through the congressional offices of Northwest senators and representatives.

The move of the Marine Operations Center-Pacific from Puget Sound will begin in 2011 pending the signing of a 20-year lease.

NOAA selected the site following a rigorous process involving an extensive review of proposals submitted by sites in Washington and Oregon, both of which are centrally located for all NOAA ship operations on the West Coast. The current lease expires on June 30, 2011.

"NOAA is committed to providing the highest level of science, service and value to the nation,"?said Rear Adm. Jonathan W. Bailey, director of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Corps.

"We look forward to reuniting NOAA's West Coast research ships and support personnel at one facility and being an active part of the community."

The NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific is comprised of approximately 175 employees, including more than 110 officers and crew assigned to the NOAA ships McArthur II, Miller Freeman, Rainier andBell M. Shimada, a new fisheries survey vessels expected to join the NOAA fleet in 2010.

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