Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Port Spotlight: Elochoman marina

Building Recreational Opportunities

In Wahkiakum County, the ports focus on providing recreation opportunities for the community and tourists alike. Wahkiakum County is home to two port districts: Port District 1, which is comprised of Cathlamet and the eastern part of the county, and Port District 2, which is comprised of Puget Island and the western part of the county. In the past few years, Wakhiakum Port District 1 has been extremely busy, leaving its mark on Cathlamet's waterfront and creating plenty of recreational opportunities.

Wakhiakum Port District 1 operates the Elochoman Slough Marina and beginning in 2022, performed several upgrades to the facilities there. In 2021, the port built an observation deck to provide visitors with a panoramic view of the Columbia River. At the end of 2022, the port replaced 200 feet of main dock, along with 18 smaller finger docks which averaged about 24 feet in length.

Beginning in 2022 and into 2023, the port also began work upgrading the campground located on the dike at the entrance to the marina. Power and water were run to seven new RV sites, followed by power and water to 20 campsites, as well. The sites then received new topsoil, hydroseeding and were leveled to ensure campers were able to sleep comfortably. This project worked on a tight timeline, as the port rushed to make sure the sites would be ready for the upcoming tourist season.

"We went hardcore on getting that project completed," Souvenir said. "Getting the fill in and the dike hydroseeded in time was a big project. Our customers were great, though, they understood and liked what we were doing."

The port is still busy this year with several projects and events underway, including the opening of the restaurant at the River Mile 38 Brewery. That project was a long time coming, with construction starting in 2019 and the culmination of a relationship between the brewery and the port that began back in 2013.

"The brewery was conceived and founded by a group of local businessmen who wanted to generate economic development," said Souvenir. New owners purchased the business in 2019 and built the current facility from shipping containers on a land lease with the port. They operated it as a taproom until the addition of a new Italian fusion restaurant, Salt and Tomato, in April 2024.

"COVID provided a big hurdle," Souvenir said. "But now we've got a nice new brewery on the waterfront, with great views and, as of April, a new restaurant."

The port isn't done, either. They recently received a grant from the Clean Vessel Act, which will allow them to replace their vessel cleaning and pump-out stations, while also affording them a portable pump-out so they can bring that service to larger vessels, as well. The port also runs the Elochoman Marina Street Market every Friday from May 24 through September 27, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. More than 9 local vendors and artists are there every week, selling items ranging from cheese to hand-made soaps.

Wakhiakum Port District 1 is extremely busy for their small size, and they show no sign of slowing down. With another busy tourist season on the horizon, the team there is ready to handle customer needs and to continue providing the community with valuable resources.

 

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