Port of Newport

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"There is no Practicable Alternative"

Port of Newport – NOAA MOC-P
“There is no Practicable Alternative”

Newport, Oregon 03/24/2010 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has conducted an assessment of the three Washington state offers submitted in response to NOAA’s Marina Operations Center-Pacific (MOC-P) solicitation. The sites included 1801 Fairview Avenue East, Lake Union, Seattle, WA; Port of Port Angeles, Port Angeles, WA; and the Port of Bellingham, Bellingham, WA. Based on its analysis, NOAA has determined that there appears to be no practicable alternative to the Port of Newport.

Commission President Ginny Goblirsch stated, “Newport is clearly the superior choice for NOAA's homeport. Having experienced the selection process, we know it was a clean, thorough and fair process. We competed successfully because our proposal was first rate and highlighted all that our community has to offer. Politics played no role. It has been Washington politics after the fact that has been trying to change the outcome and postponing our well earned community celebration.”

The analysis addressed the concerns and questions that have been consistently asked as part of the Bellingham appeal process and from Senator Maria Cantwell’s office relating to potential floodplain impacts, both on the in-water pier construction and on the upland site construction. The analysis concluded that the Port of Newport is designing its actions in the base floodplain to reduce the risk of flooding and minimize adverse impacts.

“As a respondent to the rigorous search procedure undertaken by NOAA, the Port of Newport was fully confident we were engaging in a neutral and impartial process. In fact, we knew the only way we would stand any likelihood of coming out on top was if that process was free of political interference, maneuvering and favoritism,” said Commissioner JoAnn Barton. “The safety and security of human life and the facility have been our top priority in design
considerations. While it’s true the pilings for the piers are located in a base floodplain, it would be virtually impossible to design a pier in any other manner. It’s gratifying the debate over this issue has been laid to rest.”

Specific to the upland building construction, the buildings will be at a finished elevation well above the base floodplain elevation, complying with the standards of the floodplain management ordinance of the City of Newport and FEMA requirements.

It was also concluded that NOAA’s submission of this analysis conforms to the process established by the General Services Administration Floodplain Desk Guide and adequately documents the issues and rationale used as the basis for the conclusions.

For more information, contact Port of Newport General Manager Don Mann at (541) 265-7758.