ILWACO - Dredging was a common topic of discussion at the Port of Ilwaco commissioners' meeting Monday morning. According to Ilwaco Port Manager Jim Neva, a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill has been approved by Congress, providing $575,000 to dredge the port's entrance.

After attending a dredging conference, Neva reported that California, Hawaii and Alaska not only have their nearby channels and port entrances dredged, but also inside their marinas as well - something that seems to be unheard of in Oregon and Washington. The manager suggested the port find ways of congressional support for marina dredging, explaining that it is hard enough to get the entrance dredged, let alone anywhere else.

He also noted that areas near "C" float and "P" float would be dredged, as well as that the "C" float project funding is gradually moving forward.

In other business, Neva and commissioners agreed to support city marinas in their quest for rights through a state legislative bill.

Commissioners also granted approval of sick leave transfers between port employees. Neva explained that the transfers are to be used when a port employee becomes very sick, uses up their sick leave and vacation days and has no other outlet of income. At that point, a coworker can choose to essentially give their sick days to the ill employee.

Following last week's memorable storm, port employees were advised by the Coast Guard to hang storm weather flags at the port. The flags will fly near the Port office.

Finance Director Melissa Stern presented commissioners with a resolution that would authorize a public auction of Freestyle, a vessel owned by a tenant with delinquent charges dating back to March 2007 and totaling $2,366. Commissioners approved the resolution. The auction is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.

In his operations report, Neva said the airport layout plan is near completion and the condor statue should be erected soon.

He also invited everyone to check out the "crab pot Christmas tree" at the west end of the port, on the corner of First and Howerton streets. The tree, made of approximately 80 recycled crab pots, will soon be decorated with garland and crab floats and will be lit prior to the Lighted Boat Parade at 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 1.

"I encourage anyone who has a boat to decorate it, whether they can be in the parade or not," said Neva. "Let's get festive around here!"

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