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Byron Jake Jacobs

Byron Jacobs

The Port of Longview is considering a permanent memorial for a longshoreman who died last month.

Commissioner Jeff Wilson led a brief moment of silence at a Wednesday port meeting in honor of Byron Jacobs, 34, of Longview and Pingshan Li, 41, of China.

Both men died on June 28 when they were struck by a vessel line that snapped while a cargo ship was repositioning along the docks. Li was chief mate of the vessel.

“The loss of life ... there’s nothing more valuable, and nothing in higher regard that this port considers,” Wilson said. “We’re going to hurt for a very long time.”

Darin Norton, a member of the Longview-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21, also thanked Port CEO Norm Krehbiel for allowing Jacobs’ family to host a candelight vigil on the night of the tragedy.

The port — which is usually closed to the public — provided a podium and gave family and friends two hours to speak.

“I would just like to thank the Port of Longview and Norm for extending everything that they did for the family and the union,” Norton said.

Norton noted that the port has not had a fatal industrial accident since 1967, although ILWU 21 lost one of its members in a fatal accident at the Weyerhaeuser Co. log dock in 2016.

Wilson later proposed creating a memorial for Jacobs, a fifth-generation longshoreman who worked at the port for 16 years and was the father of three young children.

“I think it’s very important that we do something like that,” Commissioner Doug Averett responded.

Port of Longview CEO Norm Krehbiel recommended working with ILWU 21 to craft and site an appropriate memorial.

“We’ll never forget,” Commissioner Bob Bagaason said.

The June 28 incident remains under investigation by the Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Jacobs’ widow has also named the ship owner and operators, SE Harmony Corpo. and Bright Charter Shipping Ltdd., as defendants in a $16 million wrongful death lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland.

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