by Bill Stewart
Council members and Port commissioners
push cooperation to the fore in a joint work session
VANCOUVER -- Cooperation and partnerships emerged as the theme Monday in an unusual joint work session of the Vancouver City Council and the Port of Vancouver commissioners.
After a briefing on the Port's economic development plans, both panels praised the idea of working together, especially on issues that could create jobs.
Port officials said they hope the city can help negotiate a new rail line on the west side of Vancouver Lake. That would help open the Columbia Gateway industrial area, where the Port hopes to place four marine and industrial terminals.
But the idea of partnerships didn't end there.
Port officials said they have a deal with the Port of Portland on combining efforts to attract imported cars. Vancouver leases Portland's floating dock when there is a shipload of Subaru automobiles to unload, said Larry Paulson, Port of Vancouver executive director.
Port Commissioner Arch Miller said his board explored building a floating dock and found "it would have cost us millions of dollars. Portland had one, and we rent it only when we need it."
Miller added that when the Port of Portland announced plans for three terminals on Hayden Island's west end, "we discovered they were thinking the same thing that we were. It would not have made sense to hit the taxpayers for duplicate terminals."
There have been subsequent talks of a joint terminal when the existing container facility reaches capacity, he said.
"With the Port of Portland," Paulson said, "we want to grow the pie instead of fighting over the same slice."
City Councilman Larry Smith asked Port officials what services are needed to bolster growth near Vancouver Lake.
Paulson said he has met with key city personnel about helping out.
"I have talked to the fire chief and police," Paulson said. "We will need electricity, natural gas and roads."
When Councilwoman Jeanne Harris asked about the need for water, Paulson said the Port has extensive water rights that could be useful to a manufacturing company. Also, the Port has set aside 20 acres for a joint well field for the city and Clark Public Utilities.
Mayor Royce E. Pollard praised the budding city-port partnership. "We need jobs, good jobs," he said. "You are important to the future of this community.
Both boards agreed to make joint work sessions a regular practice.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs