Port 2 focused on grants and property improvement


Diana Zimmerman

Appelo Annex at Vista Park has a new roof and carpet, but more improvements are needed, according to Port 2 Manager Sam Shogren.

Vista Park is "good and busy," Assistant Manager Terina Davis told Wahkiakum County Port 2 commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday.

She's been researching ways to convert their tennis courts to pickle ball, and searching for the perfect vehicle to transport their equipment and materials to other Port 2 properties in the county.

The port is all set up to start selling ice to campers with the addition of an ice machine and a big chest freezer for ice storage. They've also reached out to local businesses and the fairgrounds to see if there was a need for ice there as well.

After someone recently tied a boat up to the dock at Svenson Park and left, Davis ordered signs alerting boaters to the 10 minute time limit at the Port 2 property on Puget Island at Commissioner Allen Bennett's request.

Manager Sam Shogren reminded the commissioners that it was a year ago this month that he joined the port.

"It's been a really good year," he said.

There have been many improvements to the annex at Vista Park, Shogren said, but said they were still finding more problems. He later mentioned that he reached out to a state office for historic preservation, hoping to get a letter of determination for the building, which he said could put them in line for state or federal grants to fund the work that remains.

Shogren said he spoke to someone recently who had expressed interest in redeveloping Miller Landing in the Westend, and had inquired about building a relationship with the port.

Counsel Tim Hanigan has been updating personnel policies for the port at Shogren's request. He is also looking into getting the port into the state retirement system.

"We as employers should have a full benefit package," Commissioner Brian O'Connor said.

Shogren has been involved with the local broadband action team. Last month, he attended a Public Ports Conference in Spokane, and learned about changes coming with the small works rosters.

"I'm continuing to build networks and connect to the wider world and what is going on," Shogren said.

He talked about the ways the port was looking to provide employee growth. One employee would receive a certification in weed control or spraying, and another possible grant might provide training for two employees in managing public records, as well as get all their filing done, through Washington State Achives.

Shogren continues to look for ways to fund economic development for the port and community, working with local legislators and congressional delegations.

"I keep hearing with the Build Back Better program and some other changes in DC there are once in a lifetime funding opportunities being made available to public entities," he said. "I'm trying to get ourselves lined up for those funds."

He applied to the Marine Resources Committee for a grant of $7,600. The grant would partially fund a project expected to cost $10,500, that would be used to improve public safety along the Vista Park waterfront by translating signage into Spanish, and more.

A visitor from an engineering firm in Vancouver said she was willing to do some pro bono work to revisit and revise Port 2's master plan, Shogren told the commissioners. He said he was already starting to make changes.

Commissioner Austin Burkhalter praised Shogren, Davis, and the entire staff for all their hard work.

Bennett's absence was approved.


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