Hundreds attend festival celebrating river system
Left and Center: Young festival-goers loved playing in the wheat box (instead of sand box)! A number of festival exhibits showcased how important the river system is to our regions’ wheat farmers. Did you know the Columbia-Snake River System is the #1 wheat export gateway in the U.S.? Right: Without a doubt, FIN the Migrating Salmon was a festival highlight. FIN belongs to the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Inside, kids viewed a mural of a watershed habitat and animals living there. Salmon recovery is extremely important for our region. Efforts include improved hatcheries, expanded habitats and numerous efforts to make dams safer for fish.
Hundreds of people attended the Snake River Family Festival, held May 20 at Boyer Park & Marina near Lower Granite Dam.
Wheat growers from Washington, Idaho and Oregon, along with local port districts and other river partners created the event to educate the public on the importance of the river system to fish, clean energy generation, the Northwest economy and recreationalists.
“The Port of Lewiston was excited to be involved in this celebration,” said Commissioner Jerry Klemm. “The event was extremely positive. Everyone seemed to be having a blast participating in the many activities and learning about the river system.”
More Snake River Family Festival Photos, Clockwise from Top Left:
Washington Sen. Mark Schoesler and Reps. Mary Dye and Joe Schmick attended the festival.
The Port of Lewiston’s Penny Cargo Challenge was a hit! Participants were given a small square of aluminum foil and asked to construct a “barge” to hold as many pennies as possible. The record for the day was 212! The Port’s hydropower demonstrations were also successful.
Jennifer Riddle of Tidewater Barge Lines shows off an event passport. Attendants visited stations to complete the passport to enter a drawing for a Hells Canyon Jet Boat Ride for four.
Lewis-Clark Terminal brought wheat samples to discuss the role of wheat exports in our economy.
Fiber optic network strengthens local economy
The Pioneer Ports are working together to make it easier to do business in the Information Age
Eighteen years ago, Port of Whitman County officials saw a tremendous need to modernize telecommunications in the region. Today, they have built over 140 miles of dark fiber in a network ranging from the City of Spokane in the north to the City of Clarkston to the south.
The Port of Lewiston had the opportunity to extend from the Port of Whitman County’s infrastructure and has spent the last two years completing initial build out of approximately 14 miles of dark fiber, ranging from North Lewiston to the Nez Perce County Regional Airport.
Workers from Summit Utility Contractors are pictured here completing initial build of the Port of Lewiston’s dark fiber network in 2016. Today, the Port has installed the backbone of its fiber network and is connecting to the Port of Clarkston’s network on Southway Bridge to offer redundancy to customers.
The Port of Clarkston also has partnered with the Port of Whitman County to construct a network in Asotin County. Construction is currently underway to connect the Port of Lewiston and Port of Clarkston networks at Southway Bridge. This will create redundancy, or a second route for data.
The Pioneer Ports (Port of Whitman County, Port of Lewiston and Port of Clarkston) see the dark fiber infrastructure projects as vital to their shared mission of advocating for local jobs in a global economy.
“Internet reliability, security and redundancy are expectations of businesses in the 21st century, in the same way as water, sewer and electricity,” said Port of Lewiston Commission President Mike Thomason. “Dark fiber is to modern businesses what the railroad was to 19th century businesses, only the commodities they carry are different.”
While there’s high demand for fiber optic cable networks, private build-out in less populated areas can be slow to develop. That’s why the Ports took on these projects. The Ports’ networks are referred to as “dark fiber” because the Ports are only installing the fiber optic infrastructure. It’s up to private companies to light the fiber and serve customers. Fiber strands are available for lease to all interested service providers at a flat rate.
The Ports have made it more cost effective for service providers to enter the local market because they do not have fiber construction costs. Businesses will benefit from a market that offers more competitive service and package choices.
Moscow-based First Step Internet is one of five companies utilizing the Port of Lewiston’s new network to serve customers.
Area Sales Manager Joe Savoy said the company has already added several customers on the Port of Lewiston’s network.
One of those new customers is the Lewiston Independent School District. Savoy said access to the Port of Lewiston network enabled First Step Internet to bid on and win the school district contract. The school district’s network will connect to state-of-the-art service, he added.
“Not only is fiber the fastest and most reliable internet service you can get, eventually it will be the standard,” said Savoy. “The Ports putting the time, effort and resources into building the network benefits the community not only today, but for years down the road.”
Compared to the Port of Whitman County’s network, the Port of Lewiston network is still very much in its infancy. Initial buildout was completed in FY17. The Port plans to continue expanding based on market demand.
“We have great rivers, a robust manufacturing base that provides good, living wage jobs, a strong local school system and public colleges,” said Thomason. “The new network will enhance our community by helping local businesses thrive in the Digital Age.”
Donation made to Steelhead in the Classroom Program
Port of Lewiston Commissioners made a $750 donation to the Idaho Fish & Game Steelhead in the Classroom program this year. A $1,000 donation will be included in the FY18 budget. Plans are to donate to the program at this level on an annual basis.
“This program helps students explore the role steelhead and salmon play in our region and helps them understand the myriad issues facing anadromous fish species,” said Port of Lewiston Commissioner Mary Hasenoehrl. “As advocates of a healthy, multiuse river system that supports salmon and steelhead recovery, we feel this program is extremely important and want to help educate students.”
For over a decade the Steelhead in the Classroom program and partners have helped area fifth graders take an active role in understanding and preserving culturally historic fish, according to an IDFG press release.
In March, fifth graders begin raising steelhead in aquariums. The project culminates with a field trip to release their steelhead at Spalding National Historical Park near Lapwai, where students visit multiple stations focused on aquatic environment study.
For more, visit the Idaho Fish and Game website: https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/celebrating-10-years-steelhead-classroom
Port Commission Message
Highlights from the Proposed FY18 Budget
Taxpayers may notice the Port’s proposed FY18 budget of $1,545,260 is lower than the last two years. With economic development, it’s typical to see spending wax and wane depending on projects that are being undertaken. This year, the Port will continue to expand on important projects without utilizing prior revenues.
The Port made a significant investment over the past two years to complete build-out of the initial phase of a dark fiber network. Reserve funds were tapped to make it happen.
With the backbone of our dark fiber infrastructure now in place, annual extensions of the network will be based on market demand. In FY18, the Port is proposing $375,000 to complete a second phase of buildout to identified areas.
Additionally, the Port proposes to continue our work to level and prep 15 acres at Harry Wall Industrial Park for business growth. While the bulk of this work was completed under FY17, the FY18 budget includes $50,000 to enhance site development.
The Port’s business incubator building was also renovated in FY17 to better meet the needs of today’s start-up manufacturers. The FY18 budget includes approximately $25,000 for the design of a second incubator building to help grow start-up businesses.
These projects, general improvements at other Port facilities and a potential partnership with the City of Lewiston to make improvements on Col. Wright Way make up the majority of the Port’s proposed economic development spending of $615,156 in FY18.
One significant revenue increase of approx. $51,300 comes with Clearwater Paper’s new operation at our dock (see photo on next page). Anticipated revenue for Dock and Warehouse operations totals $457,000.
Rental income will also increase slightly with the addition of Broemeling Steel & Machine as a tenant on just over
2 acres near FedEx in the Harry Wall Industrial Park.
The FY18 proposed tax levy revenue for the Port is $405,000, which is the same as last year.
Taxpayer’s annual contribution to the Port produces a high return on investment. Every $1 of taxpayer investment in the Port’s economic development activities results in approximately $8.80 in local tax
revenue. The average Lewiston homeowner pays less than $16/year to the Port. From FY1990 through FY2016, the property tax levy rate has dropped by 64.3 percent. The tax levy rate will decrease an additional 4.8 percent under the FY18 budget.
In summary, this year’s budget is a straight forward budget, designed to continue building on and improving existing projects. In FY18, we look forward to seeing more businesses benefit from our dark fiber project and we will look to grow businesses and jobs as a result of our investments at Harry Wall Industrial Park and the Business Incubator Program.
Finally, we will continue to work toward renewed container-on-barge service at the Port and will support oversized shipment projects as they arise.
The proposed FY18 budget can be found at: https://portoflewiston.com/about/budgetaudits/
If you have questions or comments about our FY18 Proposed Budget, please attend the Public Hearing, scheduled for June 14, at noon, at the Port of Lewiston Administrative Office, 1626 6th Ave. N., Lewiston.
Clearwater Paper is now receiving sawdust for its production process at the Port of Lewiston dock. Sawdust arrives in large, open barges. From there, it is loaded into a hopper to fill semi-trucks bound for the Lewiston mill.