Port Commission President: Coal Doesn’t Rev Our Engine

Coal is not among the ventures the Port of Lewiston is pursuing, as it seeks business for its expanded container dock.

The port has had three or four inquiries about coal in the past 3 1/2 years, with the most recent arriving sometime in the fall.  But Port Commission President Mary Hasenoehrl said the port has never actively sought coal customers.

“The Port of Lewiston is not currently working with anyone regarding coal shipments,” said Port Manager David Doeringsfeld.

Any port along the Snake and Columbia river system has likely handled requests similar to those put to the Port of Lewiston, Doeringsfeld said.  Barging coal on the system is an option since coal is being mined in Wyoming and Montana and shipped overseas.

The comments from Hasenoehrl and Doeringsfeld followed a records request by the Lewiston Tribune seeking any documents the port had involving coal from January 1 to July 23.

The port provided an economic impact study about a Port of Morrow coal facility along the Columbia River in Boardman, Oregon, the Port of Morrow’s lease option for the operation, a newspaper article about increasing traffic on the lower Columbia River, and a letter from a megaload opponent. Continue reading

Activists Descend on Lewiston Port Hearing

Testy crowd pressures commissioners for answers on purpose, feasibility of expanded dock

Megaload opponents and tax activists forced Lewiston port officials Wednesday to disclose how they expect to find customers for their recently expanded container dock.

Information, however, was the only concession offered at a lengthy, sometimes testy hearing. It ended with port commissioners passing a $1.9 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year without changing anything, including a $450,000 annual property tax levy for Nez Perce County residents.

Among the more than 15 people who attended the morning meeting was Linwood Laughy, a Kooskia-area resident and leader of megaload opponents. He met Port Manager David Doeringsfeld for the first time.

Carla Timentwa, chairwoman of the Nez Perce Tribe’s General Council, identified herself as one of the people arrested last year during megaload protests.

She wondered whether the port should be supporting activity in the oil boomtowns of North Dakota because of the violence associated with the rapid growth, which has victimized innocent bystanders. Continue reading

Bakken Oil Field Equipment on Idaho Roads?

…In other business, Lewiston Port Commissioners on Wednesday also discussed another possibility for hauling machinery or supplies to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.

The port has already received an inquiry from a business that wants to barge supplies up the Columbia and Snake rivers and load them onto trucks at Lewiston for the last leg of the journey, Port Manager David Doeringsfeld said.

The port’s staff is drafting an ad to appear in North Dakota newspapers that would promote how the Port of Lewiston is less than 900 miles from the oil fields, Doeringsfeld said.

Haulers who want to send regular and oversized shipments through the port could be among the new customers the port generates through the promotion, Doeringsfeld said.

(Excerpt from Food Processing Facility for Multiple Ventures Proposed by Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)

Butch Tells Whoppers

Linwood Laughy, Kooskia

The Lewiston Tribune 9/4/12

Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter tells whoppers.  In March 2011, he told a congressional committee that more folks visit the Coeur d’Alene golf course floating green than the Frank Church Wilderness.  Was he unaware that more than 35,000 visitors recreated in the Frank in 2010?

A year earlier, contrary to 50 years of Federal Highway Administration research, Otter repeatedly claimed that a megaload weighing 600,000 pounds with multiple axle weights exceeding 35,000 pounds would cause no more highway damage than a one-ton pickup.

Otter added another whopper at a recent event doling out $1.3 million in taxpayer money for a dock extension at the Port of Lewiston, where container shipments have declined 75 percent during 10 years.  At the invitation-only, police-guarded gathering, Otter was quoted saying, “Next to throwing, water is the cheapest way to move goods.” Continue reading

Welcome, Mr. Secretary. Why’d You Come?

Marty Trillhaase, Editorial Page Editor, Lewiston

The Lewiston Tribune 2/4/12

Aside from former Idaho governors who wind up in a presidential administration – Interior Secretaries Cecil D. Andrus or Dirk Kempthorne – Lewiston doesn’t often see a cabinet member stop by.

So Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s visit Wednesday to the Port of Lewiston was a big deal.  The former seven-term House member runs an agency that employs 55,000 people and spends $70 billion.

Thanks, Mr. Secretary, for coming to see us – or at least a selected group of 50 dignitaries and reporters you invited to attend – Wednesday.

Just one question: Why did you come?  No, really.

Supposedly, the visit was timed to highlight a $1.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant allowing the port to expand its container dock.

But that’s old news.  The grant was awarded in June.  Plus, it’s $1.3 million, not $1.3 billion, not even $130 million. Continue reading

Protesters Object to Tax Dollars Funding the Port of Lewiston

A group of protesters crowded the entrance to the Port of Lewiston Wednesday, chanting and holding up signs in outrage regarding a recent port grant.

Protesters said their anger is directed toward the federal government, who granted the port $1.3 million for the inland port improvement on the Columbia/Snake River System.  Protestors said spending millions of taxpayer dollars for a port that’s not producing jobs or enough shipments is a substantial waste of money.

“The port continues to prove that it is not a job maker and it is in fact a money loser,” said protester Brett Haverstick.  “Even from a common person’s perspective, dock extension makes no sense.  Where is the business?”

Protesters also showed their disapproval of the grant, voicing their concerns about more megaload traffic and the negative impact it inflicts on the environment.  The activists also provided onlookers with informational sheets explaining why they believe the Port of Lewiston extension is a bad idea.

See the video at: Protesters Object to Tax Dollars Funding the Port of Lewiston

(By Whitney Hise, KLEW TV Lewiston)

Lewiston Port Project Draws Cabinet Visit

Idaho Senator James Risch, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Idaho Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo were at the Port of Lewiston Wednesday to promote the expansion of cargo traffic through the port (The Lewiston Tribune/Barry Kough photo).

A group called Wild Idaho Rising Tide protested Wednesday during a visit by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Port of Lewiston (The Lewiston Tribune/Barry Kough photo).

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hears about effect of $1.3 million dock extension grant

The area’s elected officials got a rare chance Wednesday to thank a Cabinet official on their home turf for the $1.3 million his agency gave to an expansion of the Port of Lewiston’s container dock.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood toured the dock that stands in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, one of the few U.S. communities of about 50,000 that’s more than an hour away from a multi-lane interstate highway.

LaHood answered media questions and heard praise of the grant from Idaho’s governor, senators, and the port president.

The port received a $1.3 million grant in June from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program. The money will help the port add 150 feet to its 120-foot container dock, which handles paper and agricultural products. The goods are barged to Portland, Oregon, then transferred to bigger vessels to be shipped overseas. Continue reading

Transportation Secretary’s Visit is Invitation-Only

A group of about 50 Port of Lewiston customers, local elected officials, and reporters have been asked to attend an invitation-only Wednesday visit of a White House Cabinet official.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will tour the Port of Lewiston port dock at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release issued Monday by the port.

LaHood will be joined by Idaho Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, and U.S. Senator Jim Risch in an event expected to last about 45 minutes.

Wood products and agriculture entrepreneurs will also be among the guests, said David Doeringsfeld, Lewiston port manager. “It’s not often you get a Cabinet secretary in Lewiston, and we’re pretty excited.”

LaHood will be underlining a June $1.3 million federal grant to the port’s container dock expansion from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program, Doeringsfeld said. Continue reading

Top Federal Official to Visit Port of Lewiston Next Week

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will present grant

A top-level White House official will be visiting the Port of Lewiston Wednesday with Idaho’s governor.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. at 1626 Sixth Avenue North in Lewiston, according to the governor’s office.  He’ll be accompanied by Idaho Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter, Senator Mike Crapo, and Senator Jim Risch, both R-Idaho.

LaHood is a member of the Cabinet who advises the president.  The men will be presenting a federal grant to the Port of Lewiston, according to the governor’s office.

The port received $1.3 million in June to expand its dock from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program.  It’s not clear if the award that will be given Wednesday is the same. Continue reading