December 10, 2022

Kilmer visits port, Ediz Hook where federal grant dollars are working

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer visted Friday the site of a project local officials say will help bolster the local log yard’s efficiency and help the local timber industry.

With the help of two federal grants, the Port of Port Angeles plans to pave and improve its log yard which the project’s supports say will help support the local timber industry.

The facility in Port Angeles is the only industrial facility with a waterfront on the Olympic Peninsula that can process whole logs coming from Canada and Alaska, Kilmer’s office said. The log yard also moves logs from the Peninsula to manufacturers elsewhere in Washington state and Oregon using barges.

With the grant funding, the Port of Port Angeles hopes to increase its efficiency and barging capacity to help support the local timber industry.

Kilmer — meeting with Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter, Port of Port Angeles Executive Director Geoff James and Port Angeles City Engineer Jonathan Boehme — toured the Port of Port Angeles’s log yard Friday to see firsthand what needed to be done.

After meeting with them, Kilmer also visited Ediz Hook, where a revetment repair project was underway, funded by another $1.5 million grant from the Army Corps.

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer toured sites where federal grant dollars were being put to work. His visit included a tour of the Port of Port Angeles log yard, where log yard operator Jeremy Weller gave Kilmer a crash course in using a log loader. (Peter Segall/Peninsula Daily News)

The log yard on Marine Drive, what the port calls its Intermodal Handling and Transfer Facility, which supports the timber industry on the North Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere, Kilmer’s office said in an October press release.

“My approach through all of this is, particularly having grown up here, one, I recognize that the port is an extraordinary driver of economic opportunity and, two, we need more economic opportunity,” Kilmer said Friday, standing in the deep mud of the log yard as trucks from local mills continued to make their deliveries.

“So I think without exception where the port has pursued more federal dollars I’ve supported it because I want to see more jobs here,” Kilmer said.

An $8.6 grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program and according to the Port of Port Angeles will be used to complete repairs and improvements to a 112-year-old dock and pavement improvements to increase load capacity for about 10 acres of an existing 30-acre cargo yard.

According to James, in addition to the $8.6 million from the Department of Transportation, the port has also secured $7.5 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for stormwater mitigation which together will be used to pave the log yard and improve docks used to load and offload timber.

The project will break ground in 2026, James said, and will first undergo and extensive planning, consultation and permitting process with the Army Corps.

The log yard will still be able to operate during the duration of the construction, which should be completed within a year, James said, but the yard’s capacity will be reduced until the project is finished.

“We’re probably going to have to turn away a lot of customers,” James said.

Kilmer and U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, all advocated for Port Angeles to be the recipient of the grant and in May Kilmer sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging support of the Port of Port Angeles’ grant proposal.

“The Port of Port Angeles is the anchor of the economy in the Olympic Peninsula and connects Washington state to the rest of the world, sending our goods to market and employing thousands of workers in Clallam County,” Murray said in October.

“This grant is going to support good-paying jobs for Washington families, and help us free up supply chains so we can get goods on our shelves faster while keeping costs down.”

Cantwell also cited the need to strengthen domestic supply chains and said improvements paid for by the grant will, “solidify the Port’s ability to directly support good-paying timber and manufacturing jobs on the Olympic Peninsula for decades to come.”

Kilmer, who grew up in Port Angeles, has represented Washington’s 6th Congressional District since 2013 and was re-elected in the recent midterm. The 6th District covers the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas and most of the city of Tacoma.

By:  Peter Segall
Source: Peninsula Daily News