Newport’s Ship Comes In

Business Oregon teamed with local Newport officials to land the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) relocated research fleet despite fierce competition from several Washington ports. The project means Newport will be home port to four ships, and host visiting ships as well. It will mean hundreds of family-wage jobs, and it's expected to pump $19 million into the local economy every year. The facility also should use as many as 1,200 vendors to support its operations.

The $38 million, five-acre project opened in August 2011, with a staff of 175, including 110 officers. The Port of Newport was able to make the winning bid largely because of $19.5 million in Oregon Lottery funds, appropriated by the state Legislature, which allowed it to offer a 20-year lease for only $2.4 million per year.

Business Oregon loaned the Port of Newport $1.2 million from its Brownfields fund to help clean up and rebuild the International Terminal site. In addition, Business Oregon's Infrastructure Finance Authority (IFA) gave Port of Newport officials a $25,000 grant from its Port Planning Fund to help local officials prepare their successful application to NOAA.

In addition, the project will use $2.1 million in urban renewal bonds and $200,000 in additional funding from the Port of Newport, Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Department of Transportation. In addition, Business Development Officer Dennie Houle worked to help the Port secure a $1 million Immediate Opportunity Fund (IOF) grant from ODOT to help fund the city's completion of its South Beach transportation plan.

In support of the project, Business Oregon also teamed up successfully with the Port of Toledo to finalize the port's purchase of the Fred Wahl Shipyard in late December 2010. A $1.2 million loan from the Port Revolving Loan Fund and a $350,000 Strategic Reserve Fund forgivable loan were approved to facilitate the purchase of the boatyard.

In June 2010, the port received $250,700 from Business Oregon's Brownfield Redevelopment Fund to address contamination and pollution issues at the shipyard site.

Getting the yard back in operation was critical for the NOAA project, as the yard, and the many suppliers and boat repair specialists it has helped to support, also will support the operation and maintenance of the NOAA fleet.