PORT OF ILWACO - At Monday's Port of Ilwaco commission meeting, Port Manager Mack Funk announced that Paul Coile and Jeff Marcus have purchased the Reel-Em-In restaurant at the port and a lease is being negotiated for the business.

"We're very excited about being involved with the port," Coile said. Pauly's Bistro will open between April 15 and May 1, serving Mediterranean and "comfort food like braised shortribs and mashed potatoes and whatever we feel like doing." He said the restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner at reasonable prices.

The port's Financial Director Mary DeLong reported total income through February was $83,000 and expenses were $160,000 with a cash decrease of nearly $78,000 from last year at this time. She said operating revenue was $4,000 less than last year, "The first time that has happened in a long time." But expenses are under budget, she said.

Funk said the City of Ilwaco's decision to cut new street lights from the First and Howerton project because of cost overruns in the budget means no new street lights at the port, as well. He said the traditional design bollard lights scheduled to be installed along Waterfront Way were preferred to an alternative design submitted to the commission recently.

Cutting ground cover for the sidewalk "islands" from the project budget means something must be planted in the areas, Funk said. Port merchant Donna Kinman said she would be willing to purchase sea grass for the islands.

Because bids for the new restrooms at the port were "substantially over budget," DeLong reported revisions to the design were made by engineers at HLB & Associates. "We can live with the changes," she said.

Ron Larson of HLB said during the meeting he took the changes to the apparent low bidder, Five Rivers of Longview, and made the changes. "There will be no changes to the layout of the facility or to the number of fixtures," Larson said. He outlined the major changes - concrete instead of wood frame construction; no clerestory windows; conventional trusses; 9-foot walls; conventional painted doors; and porcelain fixtures instead of stainless steel. "The biggest change to the design is the height of the ceilings," Larson said.

The revised cost of the project is $281,016. The commission approved the revised contract and authorized the changes in design.

Harbormaster Jamie Sowers reported a 20- by 8-foot work dock has been donated to the port. The dock was used during construction work at U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment. An old steel ramp that was replaced at the port will be refurbished and installed at the boat hoist dock to replace a deteriorating wooden ramp.

Repairs to docks at the marina continue and lumber has been ordered for summer projects, Sowers said, and she reported she has ordered a shelter for the port's bulldozer and excavator.

Preliminary figures for last year's dredging season are in, Sowers said. The port's dredge worked 581 hours and sucked up 23,897 cubic yards of mud, 41 cubic yards per hour. This exceeds the previous year's dredging amount by about 70 percent. In the process, a large amount of fishing line and scrap wire came up from the bottom. "We can salvage some of it and sell it," Sowers said, but a lot will have to be hauled to the landfill. The commission approved a resolution for disposal of the scrap.

The commission authorized Funk to send a letter to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton in support of the Fort Clatsop Expansion Act that would add Station Camp and Fort Canby State Park to the national memorial near Astoria.

Port business owner Mike Cassanelli told the commission that people are "getting in the habit"of parking along the north side of Howerton Street. "We need to get signs up and stop it now," he said. Once the Howerton project is completed, no-parking signs will be installed on that side of the street. Kinman said a number of people also are parking on Waterfront Way.

Coho Charters owner Butch Smith said he returned Friday from a meeting in Sacramento setting fishing seasons for the year. "Options were favorable," he said. "We think there will be 100,000 coho this year, up from 53,000 last year. The season could start as early as June 29 - worst case, July 7."

Smith said Chinook limits have changed to a two-fish limit, one of which may be a Chinook. "Last year the limit was two Chinook," he said. "That wasn't wise." The size limit for Chinook was raised to 26 inches. Buoy 10 will open Aug. 1, he said, "similar to last year, which was fantastic." And, sturgeon season is open seven days a week until July 9.

Smith said a troubled economy and $2-a-gallon gas could keep people away. Kinman said to "look on the positive side. Gas is only 15 to 20 cents more and it's not that far to come to Ilwaco."

Commissioner Frank Unfred agreed, saying "We need to get information out about the area."

Funk announced that Desiree Rush is the new manager of the port's Saturday Market.

DeLong said that the commission's next meeting March 31 is the 75th anniversary of the port.

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