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Newport, and its new port

newport

Along a Newport Bay street/Stapilus

If you want to pick out tourism central for the Oregon Coast, the best choice probably would be Newport. It’s a fun town to visit, with distinctive areas (the old bay area, Nye Beach and others) and plenty to see. It’s become a tourism mecca, and on the recent Saturday when we visited, traffic was jammed.

Tourism alone still isn’t a solid underpinning for a community, though. It can be helpful, but you can see the limits in Newport. There seems to be a real ceiling to the prosperity there, a limit to how far tourism alone will take the community.

That’s where the move by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decision to move one of its main operations from the Seattle area to Newport can become significant (even before you consider the spinoff and multiplier effects). The number of personnel is not enormous, only a couple of hundred or so, but it will add a real base to Newport’s economy – a base much more solid than tourism can be.

This could mark a significant change for Newport. Nothing less for the enjoyable day-visit place know. But something more, besides.

From the Newport News-Times: “Port of Newport officials were figuratively dancing on the docks, giddy about a sense of destiny, and what Port Commissioner Ginny Goblirsch called ‘a pivotal point in our history.’ Port General Manager Don Mann said initial permitting and work on a $44 million, 18-month project to build a new facility to berth NOAA’s four-vessel operations fleet should weigh anchor on the south side of Yaquina Bay within the next two weeks.”

One other point: The port of Astoria had applied for the NOAA development, but backed out because it felt the chances of luring it away from Seattle were too small.

Give them credit for openly acknowledging as much after the fact.

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