PORT OF ILWACO - Ilwaco Merchants' Association President Bruce Peterson outlined plans for the "Christmas at the Port" events during the Port of Ilwaco Commission meeting Monday.

The "shopping month" at port businesses will kick off Dec. 3 at the pavillion from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will include lighting holiday lights, the first of three raffles, caroling, a boat parade, the arrival of Santa and hot cider.

Peterson said a free raffle ticket will be available to shoppers for every $5 spent after Thanksgiving. Shops will be open until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 23. Raffles also will be held Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 at the pavilion at 4 p.m. with prizes including charter fishing trips and bed and breakfast stays.

During the commission meeting, at which Harbormaster Jamie Sowers presided in the absence of Port Manager Mack Funk, Bob Bogar outlined his proposal for removing a gasoline storage tank found recently underground west of the Sea Breeze Charters building.

Bogar said the tank is filled with a mix of gasoline and water which must be pumped out to satisfy Department of Ecology requirements. Piping also will be removed from the tank.

A sub-contractor from Portland will remove the tank and dispose of it for $3,700, Bogar said. "It's a straightforward operation," he said. "It happens all the time." Bogar also will be testing the surrounding soil for any contaminants.

Sowers unveiled a new automatic external defibrillator that will be available in the port office to be used for medical emergencies such as heart attacks. She said the port staff have been trained to use the device.

"This could save a life," Commissioner Frank Unfred said. Commissioner Dick Siefert agreed. "They're very effective," he said.

Sowers also outlined recommendations for a derelict vessel policy such as requiring automatic bilge alarms on vessels that have been ignored or abandoned by their owners. Recalling the sinking of the Ivanhoe, which cost the port about $50,000, Unfred said the boat had been abandoned and sank at the dock. "We need to stop this from happening again," he said.

The port's new attorney, Heather Reynolds, from Astoria was introduced during the meeting. Reynolds was hired because the former attorney has moved away from the area. She also was recently hired as the attorney for the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta.

Reynolds said she has been licensed in Washington for 20 years and served as a judge pro tem here 15 years ago. She also represents the Port of Astoria and ShoreBank.

"She comes highly recommended," Unfred said.

Donna Kinman announced that Peterson, owner of The Wade Gallery at the port, had been named business of the year at Ilwaco Harbor Village by the Pacific County Economic Development Commission. "He and his wife, Wendi, are a huge asset to Ilwaco and the port," she said. Also honored in Pacific County were Super 8 Motel in Long Beach, Dennis Co. in Raymond and the Tokeland Hotel.

Kinman also expressed concern about a recent surge of panhandlers bothering merchants and customers at the port. "This has never come up before," Unfred said. "It must be a sign of prosperity." The commission agreed to ask Long Beach Police Department Chief Flint Wright for advice and recommendations about how to handle the problem.

Sowers said the final draft of the port's updated personnel manual will be ready for adoption at the Nov. 7 commission meeting. She also announced that the port has obtained a five-year pile-driving permit and will be allowed to drive 30 piles a year with its newly acquired pile-driving equipment.

The U.S. Coast Guard has donated a lighted sign indicating when the bar is closed which will tentatively be placed at the jetty, Sowers said.

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