PORT OF ILWACO - Port of Ilwaco Manager Mack Funk reported on the First and Howerton/Waterfront Way project Monday during the regular meeting port commissioner meeting. Funk said he had received the engineers' report on the status of the project and "It's moving ahead very well overall."

Funk said paving on Waterfront Way is completed although some puddles were reported after last week's rain. "We need to correct that," he said, adding that "nothing makes a port manager happier than new pavement."

A ribbon cutting for the Waterfront Way project has been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. during the port merchants' annual Winter Open House.

The main electrical conduit for lighting along Waterfront Way has been completed, as well, Funk reported, adding that the design of the proposed "bollard" lights needs to be finalized.

Funk also discussed solutions to replanting grass along Waterfront Way that has been covered or damaged during construction, especially in light of Saturday Market vendors who set up their stands on the grassy area. The Saturday Market is scheduled to resume in May.

Work on the new sewer line on Howerton Street also is going well, Funk reported. Work began Nov. 4 at the east end of the street and is complete as far as the port office, almost 1,000 feet. He said side sewer lines are also being connected to port businesses and three "stubs" are being installed on the north side of the street for possible future development. He said the project is within its budget.

Citing a letter he received from port leaseholders recently about cuts to the project, Funk said items such as an irrigation system, benches, garbage cans, picnic tables, bicycle racks, sculptures and a concrete edge on Waterfront Way that had been cut from the plan because of their expense will have to be done as funds permit. "We can do a lot in-house," Commissioner Frank Unfred said. "It's much cheaper."

Ilwaco Mayor Ed Leonard, who attended the meeting, said the city had constructed inexpensive wooden housing for plastic garbage cans at Black Lake and the same housing could be used at the port, replacing metal cans that rust quickly in wet weather.

Mary DeLong, the port's auditor, reported that business was good over the past year with a $54,000 increase over last year and an increase of $16,000 in operating revenue over last year. She said the port was "performing well against the budget."

Funk praised DeLong's work. "She does things right and we stay out of trouble," he said. "We're lucky to have her."

Harbormaster Jamie Sowers reported that repairs to the port's boat hoist were complete and the hoist is "running like a little Cadillac." All the work on the hoist was done by port employees, she said.

Sowers also reported that the dredge Patriot, which has been moored at the harbor for some time, broke loose during last week's windstorm and took out three new pilings.

Port employees re-moored the dredge, which had been moored by only one line after the storm.

The dredge was up for auction at the beginning of the month because the owner hasn't paid moorage fees. "Nobody bid on it," he said, "but we can try to find a buyer."

Funk reported that the popular slow-drag event, postponed this year because of construction at the port, is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5, 2003. He also reported that he had attended a Pacific Northwest Waterway Association meeting recently. At the meeting, the expanded use of dredge material, an infrastructure project and getting federal attention for dock replacement at the port were discussed. He said he also went to a meeting of four up-river ports - Vancouver, Woodland, Kalama and Longview - to discuss the channel deepening issue.

And, Funk reported that a boat in the port's boat yard will be using a needle scaler for de-rusting. The device is very noisy, he said. "We will try to keep it as far away as possible from residences," he said. "We want to be sensitive to the town's residents."

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