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The Kalama City Council on Thursday continued a public hearing on the Port of Kalama’s application for two permits needed to build a $1.6 million “T-barge” dock in the Columbia River.

The proposed dock would enable commercial vessels to moor just outside the port’s marina. The marina is designed for recreational use, but a commercial company now moors small vessels there.

City Administrator Adam Smee said the hearing on the port’s application for substantial and conditional use permits will continue Oct. 4. The decision was pushed back because the port made small technical changes to its application, so the city staff will update their report to present to the council, Smee said.

The proposed dock would provide berthing and cargo loading and unloading for three to five commercial boats. The port would also construct a pier and gangway for forklifts and crews to access the dock.

After construction, the port would lease the dock to the local commercial company that delivers ship stores and transports crew members. The project wouldn’t cause any additional barge or ship traffic. According to the port’s application, the dock should reduce fuel consumption and river miles traveled by delivery boats by providing a central location for truck deliveries between Portland and Astoria.

Liz Newman, marketing manager for the port, said it purchased the 171-foot-long barge a couple of years ago to re-purpose into a commercial vessel dock.

The project is not expected to affect vehicle traffic. According to memorandum from PND Engineers in Seattle to the city, traffic may increase by one delivery truck per day, three days a week for cargo delivery to ships.

Vessel traffic within the marina would decrease because the company is currently operating out of the marina, the application says. Traffic would be limited to the mouth of the marina and wouldn’t affect flow in and out.

The project would remove 10 orphan piles and reduce log storage in the area, creating fewer impacts to the aquatic environment, according to the project’s State Environmental Policy Act checklist.

Newman said the port recently submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which should be issued in the next several months. After that is received, the port will apply for city building permits.

If the project remains on schedule, the port will begin construction this winter after the start of the new year, Newman said.

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