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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why paving over West Hayden Island is a waste

The Port of Portland's proposed new shipping terminal on West Hayden Island, which would destroy scarce wildlife habitat, is truly a waste of money. The competition among West Coast ports for shipping is intense, and getting more intense all the time. Portland can't compete, and never will be able to. An alert reader who gets up Canada way a fair amount writes:

Of course the PDX Biz Journal only just got this news out this week, and the SnOregonian will never publish this news, but we have been watching it for some time as we go to Tsawwassen all the time...

You should see the new freeway that is being built to accommodate the increased truck traffic. It looks like the interchange in San Diego where I-5 connects with about 3 other freeways with 10 lanes in each direction!

And while on the subject of west coast ports, Long Beach, CA has taken over ALL of the former navy base there. And it is like a 1/2 hour trip to the open ocean from LB.

So it is still a mystery to me why Port of Portland is paving over Haden Island. The so called "Port of Portland" is a total joke! It is like the "mini me" of west coast ports, AND it is 100 miles inland, AND the ships have to cross over the infamous Columbia River Bar, which is listed in every(!) chart publication as one of the 10 most dangerous places in the world for boats.

I want to know who is getting paid off to promote this insanity!

It's a Goldschmidt Network deal, reader. Nothing more needs be said.

Comments (16)

Those greedhead simpletons at the Port & City are in for a rude awakening. That "development" ain't gonna happen. Trouble's coming to them, to bring peace to that piece of the valley.

So how is that mini-me Portland ships more grain than Seattle?

Get real, niceoldguy.

There seem to be plenty of terminal facilities for the grain already. The mystery commodity that we're going to kill the wildlife for has not been identified.

Great link clinamen!
And it is going to be virtually impossible for Porland to ever handle the new large Panamax ships.
But as long as the Goldschmidt cartel get their bucks that is all that matters. Creeps!

So how is that mini-me Portland ships more grain than Seattle

That's true - Portland, as well as Vancouver, Kalama and Longview, are ideal bulk shipping facilities. Why? Because Portland/Vancouver have the ONLY Sea-level railroad route east of here, through the Cascades.

Thus, all that grain, potash and other bulk goods - things that are very heavy - have a nice, easy downhill ride all the way to Portland. They also aren't time sensitive goods, so a longer, more circuitous route, is not a problem. Those trains return empty, however, but the lighter weight and the easier, sea-level routing makes it easier and faster for those trains to return back to whereever to get re-loaded.

However - Portland lags in intermodal (containers). Why? Because containers are light - they can easily go up and over the steeper mountain grades with little effort. They also carry consumer goods, and need to be delivered to where the people are - Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Seattle. Los Angeles has the fastest railroad routes inland, so those cans can get into the interior of the nation faster from L.A. than anywhere else.

So - if Portland really wanted to expand their harbor, they'd be looking at bulk materials - not another seldom used intermodal facility. We already have Terminal 6 and it's idle most of the time. The intermodal carriers see little to no need to serve Portland. Building another terminal isn't going to entice them, but adding another two or three million people here would, or building a much faster, railroad east of here would as well.

It also doesn't help that the Columbia River can't handle post-panamax ships - the kinds that the container shippers are building and operating. Maybe if a terminal were built somewhere around Astoria, and use the old SP&S railroad from Astoria into Portland...but, there's little land available around Astoria (most of it is tied up as protected wetlands), and you still have the population problem.

Yeah, clinamen! And that includes leading to this one, with some straight dope (and not the Port of Portland faerie dust & delusions):

PORT AND INLAND WATERWAYS MODERNIZATION: PREPARING FOR POST-PANAMAX VESSELS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources (June 20, 2012)

Hey Jack: Check out the "cost recovery" and financing schemes in that ACE IWR report (e.g., "Infrastructure Banking," state/municipal bonding, new taxes, etc.)

The Report is also features some incoherent sentences (e.g.: However, recent budget allocations and the extremely tight fiscal environment in the future makes reliance on this option for future funding. [sic].) and missing key graphics (i.e., the "Figure 40" Index of ports).

Note this from p.89:

To examine this issue IWR developed a port index of regional trade. This index can be used to gain insight into the degree a port serves a local catchment area or a larger regional community.129 The index was developed for container ports. It considers the population adjacent to the port and the total number of TEUs moving through the port for the years 2005- 2009. The results are presented in Figure 38 below. The index reveals three distinct categories of ports. The ports with the largest indices could be called “national ports.” They are Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York. The second category is “regional ports.” Regional ports include: Savannah, Oakland, Norfolk Harbor, Tacoma, Charleston, Houston and Seattle. Local ports include Miami, Port Everglades, Baltimore, Jacksonville, San Juan, Wilmington DE, Philadelphia Wilmington NC, Palm Beach, Chester, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile and Portland.

And apparently that's Portland Harbor, ME, folks.

Here's the punchline of the Report:

Maintaining the capacity of our major ports and waterways and expanding port capacity when, where, and in a way that best serves this Nation will require leadership at all levels of government, and partnership with ports and the private sector. The main challenges are to continue to maintain the key features of our current infrastructure, to identify when and where to expand coastal port capacity, and to determine how to finance its development. Congress, by directing the preparation of this report, and the Administration, by proposing a White House task force on navigation, have demonstrated a coincident interest in this topic, indicating an opportunity to jointly develop appropriate guidelines, methods, and legislation to establish a national investment strategy.

The Port of Portland needs the City of Portland to annex West Hayden Island in order to maximize all the leverage of its municipal bonding and taxing power that the local looters of the public treasury can get their filthy greedy hands and big fat mouths on.

Just what we need -- as if Portland doesn't already have enough elephant trouble lately, it's going to go broke even faster than ever, building a monstrous white elephant on the remains of a once-verdant Hayden Island, and in the process attempt the gouging & maintenance of a 12-foot deeper and much wider channel the 100-mile length of the endangered Lower Columbia and Estuary, all the while shoveling more of our money into a financial furnace. Talk about satanic mills!

Jerusalem ~ ELP

Need to rebuild the SP&S railbed, too.

We are blue water sailors. That means we have crossed oceans in small boats. Believe me ALL boats are small on the ocean! We have also crossed the Bar numerous times, in fair weather and under appropriate tide conditions, in our own boats, so I think I speak from experience.
I don't think most non-boating people realize how significant the Bar is to the limitations of building useable ports on the Columbia River.
No matter if a huge modern port was built in Astoria....there is still the Columbia River Bar, and that bar is made by Mother Nature and cannot be changed. It is a dangerous and significant impediment to major shipping.
With Vancouver BC, Seattle, Tacoma, San Francisco, LA, and SanDiego all on the West Coast, all with large, safe, and easily accessible to the open ocean and rail lines, Portland will never be a major player in this industry.
And....most people don't realize this either, the distances from these ports to Asian destinations are virtually the same.

Erik H has the most logical comment on this.

There's a reason why Portland had a port in the past and currently has a port now.

The concept that the Port of Portland is "useless" is ridiculous.

What does Long Beach, CA have to do with Portland shipping routes?

We are talking about something far more complex (importing/exporting, shipping routes, costs, etc.) than a simple sentence can handle.

Port of Portland is niche, yes, but its best assets are its export ability, not importing junk goods in containers from overseas.

That is exactly the point. Portland is a niche market.
I don't see where anyone here said the port was "useless".
Unnecessary expansion, and paving over Haden Island at vast expense at this time is not appropriate to the needs of shipping or the city.

Hypothetically assuming more lies and subterfuge from local government... instead of expanding the number of terminals which doesn't make sense, is it possible that in reality the port is simply relocating an existing working terminal to Hayden Island for reasons unknown that CoP appears to have an intense stake in, like waterfront condos for instance?

I'm just theorizing here in an attempt to explain observed behavior when publically provided information has in general, proven to be untrustworthy or misleading.

In a way, it's just like the rationale raised for the Convention Center Hotel. Simplistically put, "If we build it, they will come." Not necessarily true when nothing else that attracts conventioneers and freighters to Portland will be in the cards.

With Convention business, it's the difficulty in getting in and out directly by air.

With Shipping, especially importing, it's the Columbia River Bar and the fact that we have competition that doesn't have to deal with such an impediment.

For years and years, since before Portland became a bona fide city, Astoria, Westport, St. Helens and even Linnton vied for preeminence in shipping via the river. Portland prevailed because of its position at the confluence of two rivers, its proximity to the valley corridor into Washington State and central and Southern Oregon and its accessibility to Eastern Oregon and Washington grain growers.

Other than that, being as far inland as we are, with the constant need to dredge the channel, is yet another impediment.

In the old days towns were left overnight as railroads positioned along other routes. Example of Port Townsend and Seattle.
Also Oregon City was in place before Portland and look what happened there.
So now Portland is in a similar situation, being aced out by location and not handy for the huge container ships.
What then is the "hurry up" by Sam and the Port
to demolish West Hayden Island?
Mr. Grumpy may have the idea, waterfront condos?
or Mojo about the leverage of municipal bonds?
Whatever, it doesn't make much sense other than to feather pockets!


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