Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) with the support of the bipartisan Congressional Ports Caucus led a letter to House of Representatives Leadership urging them to include funding for America’s ports in the next COVID-19 relief Package, CARES 2.
“Our nation’s ports serve as a crucial link between American’s and the goods that they purchase for their families, Rep. Schrader said. “Unlike other sectors of the transportation industry, ports have yet to benefit from federal aid in previous stimulus packages. Ports both large and small need this aid so that they can continue to keep our supply chains moving and maintain safety for essential port workers. I am hopeful that House leadership recognizes the key role that ports play in our maritime communities and will work to swiftly to deliver them aid.”
“Oregon ports are all unique and serve many economic areas, said Port of Tillamook Bay Manager Michelle Bradley. “The Port of Tillamook Bay operates the Tillamook Air Museum on the historic former Naval Air Station Tillamook, one of the largest tourist destinations on the North Oregon Coast. It has been shuttered and staff furloughed. Luckily for us, we have other operations: a rail line (also shuttered with the tourist train and rail rider businesses), an RV Park (closed until further notice), and a 1,600 acre industrial park (multiple tenants have asked for rent abatement).
Bradley said Oregon ports continue to be the economic hubs, but the infrastructure is often failing, and success is on the fragile edge.
“Our largest concern is the unknown – when will this end, when will recovery start, when will we be back to ‘normal’? Please do not let us slip through the cracks,” Bradley said. “We are an important part of the economy, from manufacturing to natural resource jobs to tourism, and we are struggling.”
“Ports like ours are a vital link in the food supply chain,” said Paula Miranda, Port of Newport manager. “At the Port of Newport, more than 57,000 tons of fish and seafood landings each year contribute to a healthy diet for Americans across the country. Each of the 200 plus vessels in our marina is its own small business and contributes to the economy. Ports and their related industries have suffered as a result of Covid-19 and the much-needed resources of a port-specific stimulus package would help us keep people employed, keep fresh fish and seafood on America’s tables, and keep ports operating in the best interest of coastal communities.”
“The Port of Garibaldi has been hit hard by COVID-19 – unless we get some relief, our port may not be around to support local jobs and grow the regional economy when this crisis ends”, said Mike Saindon, port director at the Port of Garibaldi. “Congressman Schrader understands the important role that ports will play in getting our economy back on track. We appreciate his leadership on this critical issue.”
"Many of our Pacific Northwest ports are small in size, but they make huge economic contributions to our communities, region and nation,” said Kristin Meira, executive director of Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA). “We're sure the exclusion of ports from previous stimulus legislation was not intentional, but it has grave implications for our region's well-being. We applaud Congressman Schrader and his colleagues for their efforts to ensure that our ports can continue to serve their vital roles connecting farmers, fishers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to their local, regional and global markets."