Friday, May 1, 2020

Port of Portland to Discuss Budget

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Portland Board of Commissioners, acting as the Port of Portland Budget Committee, will convene for a meeting to discuss the annual budget on May 13.

The meeting will be conducted virtually to adhere to social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and will be broadcasted live on the port’s website and YouTube channel.

The Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget message and budget document to be presented to the committee will be available to the public on May 11. Comments and questions should be submitted by email.

For more information and to review the documents, visit

Port of Los Angeles Chief Gives Cargo Update

By Karen Robes Meeks

April’s cargo numbers at the nation’s busiest seaport are expected to be higher than the last month, but lower than April 2019.

The Port of Los Angeles continues to operate without disruption and is working with stakeholders to keep goods flowing, said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka in a new video update released Thursday.

“With labor shifts down 17 percent from the average over the past 39 months, we recognize the hardship that many of you are feeling due to our troubled economy,” Seroka said. “Together, we will get through this crisis. In the meantime, our executive team and staff are routinely talking with manufacturing, retail and agricultural interests—both importers and exporters—to stay updated on their recovery plans and ensure that our supply chain is positioned to help them in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, efforts to procure vital medical supplies are underway, said Seroka, who serves as chief logistics officer for the City of Los Angeles since March.

Logistics Victory Los Angeles has investigated more than 700 supplier leads. This week, an agreement was struck with Honeywell to purchase 24 million N95 masks. Harbor Freight donated gloves, spray bottles for disinfectant and 9,500 face shields toward the cause.

Port of Oakland Chief Makes Case for Support

By Karen Robes Meeks

In a recent video conference, Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan urged the State Lands Commission to support efforts to financially stabilize the port as it copes with the business impact of COVID-19.

Wan told commissioners that declining airport and seaport revenues may mean major financial losses in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. He asked the commission to support the port’s efforts to seek help from government relief programs.

“We can no longer expect any semblance of business as usual in our operations,” Wan said, adding that the Port has halted discretionary spending, hiring and travel.

“We’re confident in our ability to be resilient amidst the crisis. We ask that you partner with us in a manner that is consistent both with this new reality and with the principles set forth with the Tidelands Trust.”

The port continues to operate the Oakland International Airport, and the Port of Oakland Seaport, despite passenger traffic being down 95 percent and cargo volume falling by 11 percent last month. “Our staff, tenants and customers have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis from the outset,” Wan said. “While our staff resources have been strained to their full limits and beyond, we are all completely dedicated to providing essential governmental functions and essential business services on behalf of our first responders and residents.”

Meanwhile, 20 Oakland-bound voyages previously scheduled for May and June have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 5 to 15 percent drop in cargo, the port told the Harbor Trucking Association last week.

“The Port of Oakland is operational in these unprecedented, challenging times and has stepped up for the state’s emergency response,” Wan told the commission, which governs the land use entrusted to the port under the State Tidelands Trust. “But we will need to adapt our business model to new realities and ask the Commission to continue to work with us to find creative, workable solutions to stabilize our finances.”

Port of Camas-Washougal Cancels Events

By Karen Robes Meeks

The COVID-19 has prompted the Port of Camas-Washougal to cancel all spring and summer community events hosted by the port.

The following gatherings are affected by the decision:

• May 12, Blood Drive;
• June 5, National Trails Day and Eegah’s Birthday;
• 4th of July Concert & Fireworks at Washougal Waterfront Park;
• July 22, Lunch with Dave and
• August 29, Wheels & Wings Community Appreciation at Grove Field.

"We are honored each year on the Fourth of July to host the community’s celebration of our Nation’s freedom in one of the most beautiful spots in the country and our Wheels and Wings Community Appreciation event holds an equally special place in our hearts,” said Community Relations Specialist Sadie Hayes. “We know how disappointing it is to not have these events this year, but the safety and health of our community is our first priority.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Port of Camas-Washougal Closing Launch Ramp

By Karen Robes Meeks

To help enact social distancing on port docks and ramp and curb COVID-19 spread, the Port of Camas-Washougal will close its launch ramp and all but the most eastern lane of the ramp’s lanes starting Wednesday.

The ramp, which will be closed until further notice, complies with the state’s shelter-in-place order, said Port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp in a release Thursday.

“It is our intent to continue to allow recreational launch ramp activity as long as it complies with social distancing requirements recommended by federal, state and local health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Ripp said. “Our first priority is to ensure protection of the public, employees, business operators and users during this unprecedented public emergency.

“We recognize this is a disappointment for many of our launch ramp customers and boaters and apologize for any inconvenience. We will continue to keep you updated as conditions change.”

USCG Monitors Growing Oil Tanker Presence in San Pedro Bay

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard said it is keeping an eye on the growing number of oil tankers parked at sea in the San Pedro Bay.

Approximately 27 tankers were in the water Thursday, a result of a reduced demand for crude and a backed up supply chain.

"Due to the unique nature of this situation, the Coast Guard is constantly evaluating and adapting our procedures to ensure the safety of the vessels at anchor and the protection of the surrounding environment," said Cmdr. Marshall Newberry, from Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach. "Coast Guard watchstanders, in partnership with the Marine Exchange of Southern California, are closely monitoring each anchorage to manage the increased number of tank vessels we're seeing off the California coast."

New Guidelines for Port of Olympia Commission Meetings

By Karen Robes Meeks

On Friday, the Port of Olympia released new guidelines for how the public can attend and post comments for remote commission meetings, which the port began practicing March 9 to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Those wanting to provide public comment must sign up in advance or submit written comments by 9 a.m. on the day of the meeting at

Written input will be gathered and delivered to the commission before the meeting starts.

In order to speak at the meeting, individuals must sign up by 9 a.m. on meeting day at and confirm if the comments will be provided via computer or phone. Comments are limited to a three-minute window.

To join the meeting, visit Listen to it by calling 1-669-224-3412 and entering access code 364-815-149.

Lynden Continues to Operate Amid COVID-19

By Karen Robes Meeks

Employees throughout Lynden’s family of companies continue to move vital goods to customers amid the COVID-19 development.

Chairman Jim Jansen said in a release Friday that Lynden is committed to delivering essential supplies and services to customers and communities.

"The safety of our people and serving our customers are our priorities during these challenging times,” he said. “We've been keeping freight moving to Alaska since 1954, and we're not planning to stop now."

The company’s barges, trucks and planes bound for Alaska have been keeping the supply line going without disruption since late February as the health crisis began to unfold.

"Our customers need our support to keep their businesses operating during this time and we are also supporting state and federal agencies,” said Lynden President Jon Burdick. “Keeping delivery routes open and supplies moving is our main focus and goal. We have dealt with earthquakes, oil spills, floods and other obstacles. This situation is no different."