Navigation Channel in Port Orford is Just One Foot Deep

Jul 4, 2012

The town of Port Orford, on Oregon’s south coast, may soon be without a port. Residents are rallying Wednesday to urge the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge their navigation channel. Amelia Templeton reports.

A jetty the Army Corps built decades ago protects Port Orford from waves. It also causes the Port to fill with sand. The Army Corps used to dredge the Port every year to maintain a 16 foot channel for fishing boats.

Tom Calvanese is with the group citizens to keep the Port in Port Orford. He says it’s been two years since the Army Corps has dredged. And now that channel is just one foot deep.

Calvanese: ”We have to wait for a high tide to provide a couple of feet of depth that gives a boat that doesn’t draw too much draft just enough room to scootch out into the channel and go to sea.”

Residents are rallying with wheelbarrows and buckets, to dig out what they can. A spokeswoman says the Army Corps doesn’t have the funding to dredge Port Orford. Congress has cut the corps’ budget for small ports in half.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio