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Port to flesh out Willow Grove Park trespass policy
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Port to flesh out Willow Grove Park trespass policy

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West end of Willow Grove Park stock

The west end of Willow Grove Park in late July. 

Willow Grove’s trespass procedure will get an overhaul after Longview port commissioners directed staff to bring a more robust policy to the table at a future meeting.

The port’s legal counsel LeAnne Bremer, with Miller Nash LLP, said she looked into the same topic several years ago for the port and created a notice form for staff to use when removing unruly trespassing people from the park.

“We wanted to make sure that we had procedures and processes in place for when unruly behavior occurs at the park and for what the port can do about it,” Bremer said at the port’s Wednesday meeting. “Certainly the port has the authority to issue notices.”

She said there are due process requirements for expelling people from public places, “so we wanted to make sure we’re following those and not violating anybody’s constitutional rights.”

The current form port staff complete includes a process for people to appeal a trespass notice. Bremer said while there have been appeals made, she did not have further details on them.

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“I think there is a code of conduct the port has for the park and rules to follow, but I think it would also be good practice to have a policy that fills in this process a little more in terms of what are the reasons the port would ask people to leave the park and any other parameters you want to put into a policy,” Bremer said.

The commissioners agreed, with Commissioner Jeff Wilson saying he initially brought up the need for a clearer policy because “it’s our job to set policy to direct staff and I could not find the enforcement procedure and policy.”

“There are clearly some gaps here,” he said, adding the Park Advisory Committee of volunteers also should be involved. “We need to back up our staff by having a clear policy to shelter them from the negative aspect” that could come with removing people from the park.

Commissioner Doug Averett said such a policy was long overdue and the commission needed to be clear that “unruly behavior will not be tolerated” at the park he called a jewel for the community.

Port staff will work with legal counsel and the advisory board to create a draft policy for the commission to review at a later meeting.

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The commission also got a report from Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Jennifer Brown on the second quarter financials, which was one of the highest second quarters the port has had since 2012.

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The current net income is at 184% of the $3.8 million budgeted, at $7 million. The port’s revenue, which is budgeted for $38.1 million, was at $24.9 million as of the end of June. That’s 65% of the budgeted revenue with two quarters yet to go.

Averett congratulated “staff and all labor because we’re doing great during these trying times.”

Brown said all departments are in budget so far, as are all capital projects expect one, the Berth 6 and 7 containment expansion project.

The commission approved the $69,000 higher expenditure for that project at the same meeting. Port Chief Executive Officer Dan Stahl said costs came in about 1.5% over the $600,000 budgeted for the work. due to higher material prices and needing more labor than anticipated.

“This is a good news bad news situation,” Stahl told the commissioners. “The good news is we have been incredibly busy. We’ve had ships stacked one right after the other, which is good for our operations, good for revenue and good for our longshoremen.”

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The bad news is that level of activity at the berths made it hard for the engineers to do the needed work. They had to keep digging and re-filling trenches to allow cargo to move through the area.

Commission President Allan Erickson said even so, the financial numbers were “really exciting” and it was a “great time to be a port commissioner.”

He said if the numbers hold, “this will be the most successful year ever in the history of the Port of Longview. “

“I look at that as a big plus for our community,” he said.

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