Federal Budget Cuts Leave Port Orford Fisherman Struggling to Get To Sea

Oct 30, 2012

Top brass from the Army Corps of Engineers traveled to Port Orford today to deliver bad news. The corps says it can’t afford to dredge the fishing port now or in the foreseeable future. Other small ports in the Northwest will face similar cuts.

Fishermen in rubber boots packed a small community center. They told the army corps staff the harbor in Port Orford has filled with sand. The shallow water causes waves to break over their boats as they leave the dock.

Donny Goforth says there are fewer days he can safely get to sea.

“And if I can’t get out then we’re all going to to be standing there, going broke. And when we go broke and we can’t go fishing this little town is going to dry up and go away and it’s one of the oldest ones on the Oregon coast.”

The Army corps told the community its budget for small port maintenance has been cut in half.

And it expects to have zero funding available for Port Orford, and many other small ports next year and into the future.

Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting