Port posts record revenue; commissioners decline pay reward

2010-03-09T22:30:00Z Port posts record revenue; commissioners decline pay rewardBy Erik Olson / The Daily News Longview Daily News
March 09, 2010 10:30 pm  • 

The Port of Longview broke the $25 million revenue mark for the first time last year, triggering a state law that boosts port commissioners' salaries, officials reported Tuesday.

However, in light of port staffers' decision to forgo cost-of-living increases this year, port commissioners are saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the extra $300 per month reward for the record year.

"I don't think it's proper for us to be lining our accounts when folks here didn't get" cost-of-living increases, Commissioner Dan Buell said at the port's meeting at the Cowlitz Expo Center.

State law directs the port to increase salaries of commissioners to $500 per month once it breaches the $25 million revenue mark, but the law also allows commissioners to forgo any part of their salaries by written request. The three commissioners, who are the port's elected governing authority, plan to formally request to remain at their salaries of $200 per month within the coming weeks.

They did not, however, forgo praising port staff for helping bring in $25.1 million in 2009, the port's second consecutive record revenue year.

"This is not a sleepy port," Port Commissioner Bob Bagaason said.

The Port of Longview increased its revenue 7 percent from 2008, when it hauled in $23.5 million. Before then, the port had never broken the $20 million mark. The port's 2009 operating expenses also rose 9 percent to $22.4 million, and it finished with an annual income of $2.7 million.

The revenue surge was fueled by rising wind-energy imports, a resurgence of log exports and steady business for the bulk food and chemicals transported at Berth 2. Wind imports jumped by 26 percent, and log exports rose 91 percent in 209 because the port found new markets in China and Korea, port officials said.

Port imports jumped 9 percent in 2009, and exports were up 13 percent. Overall, the port handled 1.5 million tons of cargo in 2009, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year.

"We said last year it would be a tough act to follow. Well, now it's an even tougher act," port director Ken O'Hollaren said.

Many West Coast port have struggled with double-digit drops in revenue during the recession, but the Port of Longview seems solid for the next few years, O'Hollaren said. The port expects EGT Development LLC to complete its $200 million grain terminal next year, and log exports are recovering after struggling through the last decade, O'Hollaren said.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. SkiBum
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    SkiBum - March 10, 2010 3:13 am
    Good move on the Commissioner's behalf! At least someone in this town understands simple economics. Perhaps they can give some advice to the PUD leadership.
  2. kitten
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    kitten - March 10, 2010 5:54 am
    How about a little tax break for homeowners since the port is rolling in the dough?
  3. lucky1
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    lucky1 - March 10, 2010 6:50 am
    Awesome decision by the commissioners. Now those are some people I would work for. Putting other first.
  4. kelsograd
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    kelsograd - March 10, 2010 8:13 am
    That is honorable.
  5. stopitnow
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    stopitnow - March 10, 2010 8:36 am
    Let's pause the back slapping to look deeper into this "windfall." Highly subsidized wind energy is behind this increase in business. Dr. Gabriel Calzada a Spanish economist found 2.2 conventional jobs were destroyed for each green job created. Spain has nearly 19% unemployment and for young people the statistics are reported to be much higher. Spain is known for being at the forefront of green-job creation. Heard of PIGS? Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain? They are broke!
  6. stopitnow
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    stopitnow - March 10, 2010 9:17 am
    If you want to know how it is that business is brisk at the port, check out this vid from ABC http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/green-stimulus-jobs-china-9791423
  7. stopitnow
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    stopitnow - March 10, 2010 9:56 am
    Shameless promotion by TDN for the commissioners. This tactic saved taxpayers chump change compared to the tax burden that has been levied upon us. The business they are crowing about came from stimulus/tax money. More government bragging about what they do for us and the press supporting them. What happened to real journalism?
  8. oldbeliever
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    oldbeliever - March 10, 2010 10:01 am
    Now that the port is financielly in good shape, it is only appropiate that they selfsupporting and get their hands out of taxpayers pockets..
  9. Viewpoint
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    Viewpoint - March 10, 2010 11:40 am
    Good story Erik. Thanks for all the numbers.
  10. Doug McCratch
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    Doug McCratch - March 10, 2010 4:07 pm
    To Stopitnow: I found this to be refreshing news, even if the "tactic" didn't save taxpayers much money. It's nice to read about officials who aren't greedily taking every penny they can shove in their pockets.
  11. Simon Sez
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    Simon Sez - March 10, 2010 6:51 pm
    Long Shoremen being subsidized by our taxes via the Port of Longview. Awesome!!
  12. columbian
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    columbian - March 10, 2010 8:34 pm
  13. columbian
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    columbian - March 10, 2010 8:36 pm
  14. columbian
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    columbian - March 10, 2010 8:36 pm
  15. Simon Sez
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    Simon Sez - March 10, 2010 11:53 pm
    columbian, get a clue, Longshoremen and Longshorewomen work at the port. Our tax dollars help support the port. Get it now?
  16. kitten
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    kitten - March 11, 2010 6:17 am
    So Doug McCratch you don't think someone who used someone else's money to better themselves should be held accountable to pay back what they used? It is no different when it comes to the port! I assume the only reason the commissioner's didn't take a pay raise is so they could evoke all the warm, fuzzy feelings we see on this blog. This keeps people from asking "Is my check in the mail?" Their plan seems to be working flawlessly!
  17. Rural Citizen
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    Rural Citizen - March 11, 2010 7:43 am
    I would like to see a follow up to this story showing how the profits are spent.
  18. stopitnow
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    stopitnow - March 11, 2010 7:50 am
    The longshoremen ARE being subsidized as this administration is fully owned by them! SEIU, Acorn, Andy Stern, AFL-CIO, are all Obama insiders. PS, unions have the cadillac health care plans that were going to be taxed to pay for Obama care, but they organized and met with the president and are now exempted. What percent of the people working at US ports aren't union? I hear crickets......
  19. LongviewRez
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    LongviewRez - March 11, 2010 3:29 pm
    Leave it to people to find the negative in a rare moment where greed didn't rule for a change.
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