As a new vessel deconstruction facility nears completion in Ilwaco, Coast River Business Journal spoke with Ilwaco and Chinook Port Manager Guy Glenn Jr. regarding the progress of the project.

What impact will a vessel deconstruction facility in Ilwaco have on the port and community?

“Investing in this new facility and related infrastructure adds to the capacity of the Port of Ilwaco to serve the ongoing needs of the maritime and fishing industries. The building will provide a valuable indoor workspace for either vessel deconstruction or vessel maintenance and repair.

"We currently have five indoor work bays in operation in our boatyard. The size of our new indoor deconstruction facility is much larger than our other work bays in our boatyard. The new facility has a 34-foot-wide door and 30-foot height clearance. Our existing indoor work bays are about 24 feet wide and have a 23-foot height clearance. We can accommodate vessels up to 18 feet wide with our existing haul-out facility.

"The width of the new vessel deconstruction facility allows for more work space around the vessel, including bringing equipment indoors right beside the vessel for repair, maintenance and deconstruction work. The additional height of the building should allow for small cranes or other types of mobile equipment to come indoors to assist with a project.

“Investing in our boatyard infrastructure allows us to provide facilities and services to our marina customers in addition to other vessel owners in the region. Roughly 60% of our boatyard users are from outside Pacific County. The Port of Ilwaco provides the only public boatyard on the Pacific Coast of Washington state. Having an operating boatyard greatly adds to the value of our full-service marina and benefits all of our upland businesses operating at the port.

"Many visitors to our community are also attracted to our working waterfront, including the opportunity to see vessels being hauled out and worked on in our boatyard.

"Investments in the vessel deconstruction facility, along with investments in a new Marine Travelift, new pressure wash water pre-treatment filtration system, enhanced stormwater system and grading and leveling our work yard all provide long term value for our community. With support from the state of Washington and Pacific County, the port has been able to leverage our locally generated dollars roughly on a 2:1 basis to complete these extensive investments in our boatyard facility. None of these improvements could have been made without grant funding, made possible with the ongoing support from our elected officials and a sustained commitment from our port commission.”

What is the anticipated first day of operation?

“We hope to be able to open the facility as early as Jan. 1, 2021 for vessel maintenance, repair and deconstruction activities. The port will lease the facility directly to boat owners or contractors to complete their respective projects.”

State supports vessel deconstruction facility

The roughly 6,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building and associated land occupy about one acre of the 3.5-acre former boatyard. The facility will perform vessel deconstruction activities and maintenance while providing sufficient space to receive worn out boats from around the region and store equipment. An estimated 15 jobs will be created in Ilwaco for the facility. West Coast Vessel Recycling will be responsible for boat deconstruction.

The new facility is part of a $3.5 million package of DNR-sponsored projects announced by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz in spring 2019. The investment includes $600,000 for building the enclosed deconstruction facility, $250,000 to replace the port’s storm water system and $100,000 for paving and regrading work that will help protect water quality. The project is part of Franz’s Rural Communities Partnership Initiative, an effort to help leaders in rural areas with economic development.

A need to dispose of derelict vessels

The facility will provide an outlet for derelict vessels in Pacific County that are unable to be deconstructed at locations in Port Angles and Portland.

“There isn’t one for a long way,” said Troy Wood, derelict vessels removal program manager for the DNR.

Derelict vessels often contain large quantities of oil, lead, asbestos or other toxic substances that could pose a threat to animals and the environment. If leaked or leached, these can injure or kill marine mammals, waterfowl and other aquatic life, and contaminate aquatic lands, nearby shorelines and water.

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, there are about 150 vessels in the state that are candidates for recycling, and the Ilwaco facility could serve as a beacon for boats approaching their final call to port. Some of the derelict vessels lining the Port of Ilwaco’s storage yard could be among the first processed by the new operation, depending on available funds and their respective environmental impact.

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