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Local News: Port of Astoria approves new strategic plan

Port of Astoria adopts new strategic plan

The Port has a new strategic plan, a key step on its road back to solvency. Joanne Rideout reports.

The Port of Astoria Commission unanimously approved a new port strategic plan at their Tuesday meeting. The port has crafted the new plan as part of an effort to regain trust with business partners, the community and the state, relating to the port’s current precarious financial situation. The plan was formulated during the past two years and will be critical to the port being able to qualify for further state support.

Mary McArthur is executive director of COLPAC, Columbia Pacific Economic Development District. She helped the port draft the plan, which she called critical to the agency’s path forward toward solvency. COLPAC is a private nonprofit that helps strengthen local business and can act as a bridge between communities and the state.

Commission President Dirk Rohne thanked McArthur for her help, and said she had been both forthright and sensitive to people’s concerns. McArthur said she understood how much commissioners and staff care about the port.

Mary McArthur: “Every comment you made I took very seriously. So I think that this is a document that you want to use annually in light of all the activity that is going on. I am cautiously optimistic about where the port is going. Good doc to take to Business Oregon – for entering into an intergovernmental agreement – they have provided input and are supportive of the direction – leadership, management good, three legged stool to go forward.”

Port commissioners voted unanimously to approve the plan, but commission vice president Robert Stevens urged McArthur to adjust some of the wording in the document, which referred to rancor and discord at the port. He stressed that thanks to recent changes in the port commission and staff, all parties are now working together harmoniously to get things done.

The port is currently operating under the direction of acting executive director Will Isom. The agency is still seeking community volunteers to fill out its newly created standing advisory finance committee. Residents wanting to be a part of the committee should contact the Port of Astoria. I’m Joanne Rideout reporting.