PORT OF ILWACO - Donna Pachl, the new manager of the Port of Ilwaco's Saturday Market, was introduced to the port's commissioners Monday. Pachl, 50, from Brush Prairie, replaces Pam Hickey, who shepherded the market through its first two years.

Pachl said she had been coming to Ilwaco for about 10 years before deciding to move to the Pennsula permanently. The new market manager owned her own business for 13 years before coming to Ilwaco. "I'm a people person and I love to talk," she said, adding that she's had "lots of support from the local community" in her new job.

Some changes Pachl would like to make to the market include more things for children, including a petting zoo and cotton candy, and entertainment "from one end of the market to the other." The market ends for the season Sept. 28.

In other Port of Ilwaco business:

Port Financial Director Mary DeLong reported that the new restroom construction plans are proceeding "right on schedule." She said she had met with architect Erik Fagerland who said specifications and a bid package should be ready next month and bids will go out in December or January. "Erik said that's a good time to get the best pricing from contractors," DeLong said. "Hopefully the restrooms will be completed by spring."

Port Manager Mack Funk reported that the First and Howerton beautification project "Looks like it will start soon." Engineers and contractors for the project had a pre-construction meeting two weeks ago with city and port officials, Funk said. "I had hoped there would be a construction schedule. There wasn't. It's frustrating. We still don't have it. It's too bad we missed two weeks of good construction weather, but I think if we have patience, the result will be worthwhile."

Port business owner Donna Kinman told Funk that port merchants want the First and Howerton project to be completed. "We will survive during construction," she said. "The merchants are totally behind it. We will work around the construction as we have done in the past and we'll be open seven days a week."

DeLong reported on the port's finances, saying this year's moorage revenue for August was "nowhere near last year's $122,000. But that's not bad news, she said. "This year the total for August was $84,000 but that's because moorage was sold way ahead of time on a monthly basis. We were at capacity and had to turn away people wanting daily moorage. Overall, she said, "We're performing very well against the budget."

Harbormaster Jamie Sowers reported work is moving along to prepare for the dredging season. "The dredge is doing well," Sowers said. "Maintenance on a lot of little things is getting done."

Kinman reported the Ilwaco Merchants Association is planning an "Ilwaco After Hours" gathering for Thursday, Oct. 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum. She said owners of about 70 of the 106 licensed businesses in the city will be sharing ideas. The meeting will be open to the public.

DeLong presented a draft of the port's proposed 2003 budget. "We need to step back a little and not be too aggressive on expenses next year," she said. "Our goal is to keep our cash reserves above $300,000." She said the port experienced a year-to-date net cash decrease of $23,320 with cash reserves at $486,816 as of Aug. 31. Operations revenue to date is $30,000 higher than last year, DeLong said, adding that she hopes the budget will be approved at the next commission meeting in three weeks.

Funk discussed the possibility of purchasing an ice-making facility for the port. He said a machine is for sale at Tongue Point in Astoria. Port Commissioner Jim Stiebritz, who owns Sunrise Seafoods at the port, said the portable ice machine he rents costs $100,000 for the fishing season plus about $25,000 for electricity and water. "Storage capacity is the thing," he said, adding that he's thinking of installing a second ice storage trailer next year. "We need 100 tons a day," he said. "If everything is running at capacity we can take care of it." He said there's a shortage of ice throughout the mouth of the Columbia River region, including in Astoria.

. Funk reported that the sardine season closed Friday. "We're trying to get the season reopened but boats have left and more than 100 people are out of work."

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