2 Ports to Team Up
by Jonathan Nelson
The cordial relationship between the Ports of Vancouver and Portland became more formalized Tuesday as Vancouver officials ratified an agreement that at its core unites the agencies in the pursuit of jobs.
The agreement directs Vancouver and Portland to jointly market the region, develop facilities together and share related development costs and revenues.
Both sides emphasized this is not a merger of the ports or a noncompete clause.
They also agreed the arrangement is timely, beneficial to both sides and long overdue. "We need to work together as a team to keep existing river business and to expand," said Arch Miller, Vancouver commissioner.
Portland port commissioner Jay Waldron, who along with executive director Bill Wyatt attended Vancouver's meeting, said it is only a matter of politics that created two ports on opposite sides of the Columbia River. He said it only makes sense that the two sides work together to create more jobs for the region.
"It cried out for cooperation," Waldron said.
Both ports have worked together on various issues like the deepening of the Columbia River channel and signed a looser agreement in 1996. The latest version creates a stronger bond and adds specificity to the level of cooperation.
The agreement adds no costs to either agency.
Vancouver and Portland officials have worked on the partnership for more than a year. The end product comes as the region struggles to retain its position among West Coast ports. Two shipping companies recently announced plans to end container service to the Port of Portland, a decision that resulted in a $12.4 million annual operating loss. The port responded by slashing its budget and laying off 81 workers.
Port of Portland commissioners are expected to sign the agreement with Vancouver today.
Vancouver's commission also approved a preliminary budget for 2005 that reflects a lull in capital projects for the port.
The $49.2 million budget includes $11.2 million in capital expenditures and $12.6 million in operating revenues.
The early figures are relatively flat from last year's $49.9 million budget. That spending plan included $13.2 million in capital improvements and $12.3 million in operating revenues.
The commission is expected to approve a final budget in late November or December.
Previously: The Ports of Vancouver and Portland have maintained a flexible working relationship through the years.
What's new: Vancouver officials signed a stronger agreement in which the two agencies plan to market the region jointly, develop facilities together and share the related development costs and revenues.
What's next: The Port of Portland commission is expected to approve the agreement today.
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