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Bradley Hill sunrise

Shafts of light beam through the low clouds and light up the Columbia River as a lower band of clouds stretch out over the upriver end of Puget Island.

Port of Kalama commissioners Wednesday approved a 20-year agreement with four other ports to purchase an easement for a dredge disposal site on Puget Island.

The commissioners approved an amount not to exceed $185,000 for the port’s portion of the $703,000 total purchase from Phillip and Ivy Vik. The 86-acre site is adjacent to four other parcels owned by the port, bringing the total site to 100 acres, said Eric Yakovich, economic development manager.

The Port of Portland will contribute about $179,900 and Vancouver and Longview will chip in about $174,400 each, Yakovich said. The Port of Woodland is also part of the channel project but wasn’t required to contribute funds because it doesn’t have a deep water dock, he said.

Providing sites for the dredge material is one of the ports’ responsibilities as part of the Columbia River channel maintenance work by with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Lower Columbia Federal Navigation Channel extends from the mouth of the river near Astoria to the Vancouver-Portland area. Dredging ensures the channel is maintained to its authorized depth of 43 feet for another 20 years, according to the corps’ website. A well-maintained channel allows larger ships to carry significantly more cargo, according to the Port of Kalama.

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