American Alloy project provides economic boost
Local contractors and the river system are crucial
in completing five units for U.S. Navy
On any given day 15-20 workers are toiling away at the Port of Lewiston to create five units the U.S. Navy will use in the decommissioning of Los Angeles-class submarines.
American Alloy, a Spokane manufacturing company of 85 employees, is contracting with the U.S. Navy to complete the project and utilizing subcontractors from the Lewiston area.
Workers construct mobile units for the U.S. Navy at the Port of Lewiston Container Yard. The project began in October and should finish up around June.
“These are more complicated than your average construction project,” said American Alloy owner Garret Guinn. “It’s the biggest single project we’ve done for one customer in one year.”
Local companies such as Well Connected Electric, Mike’s Plumbing, Heating & Air and K&G Construction are working on the units.
Local equipment suppliers like United Rentals are also being utilized. And, American Alloy crews are staying at local hotels.
“In the 27 years we’ve been in this business, this has been one of our biggest jobs,” said Brett Holley, co-owner of Well Connected.
Holley said they’ve hired two more people to keep up with their work, largely as a result of the American Alloy project.
“American Alloy has really put a complete team together of local contractors,” said Holley. “Their attitude and their willingness to work with everyone has been fantastic.”
Guinn said it’s a goal to support the local community.
“Even when the Navy comes, they want to eat at the barbecue place down the street (Lunchbox Deli).”
Guinn, a Coast Guard Academy graduate and veteran, was familiar with how government contracting worked when he founded American Alloy in 2007. The company has high ratings with the government and is regularly chosen for projects. However, this particular project would have been out of reach for American Alloy without access to the river system because the units are far too big to ship by roads or rail.
The units are bound for Bremerton, Wash. In the past, the Navy has been limited to companies near Puget Sound.
“Having access to the river and a high quality commercial dock allowed us to bid on the project,” said Guinn. “And, by having competitive contractors in the Inland Northwest, it may actually save the government money in the long term by creating competition for this type of work.”
Benefits of completing the project at the Port of Lewiston include the mild climate, which allowed crews to work through the winter, and having the Port as a helpful landlord, Guinn said. The Port made adjustments to the lease to expedite the construction process and provides additional assistance as needed.
Workers inside the first unit American Alloy will complete. Plans are to ship this unit the first week of April.
“This is exciting for many reasons,” said Port Commission President Mike Thomason. “A number of local companies are benefiting from this project and that translates to an overall benefit in the local economy. Plus, this project showcases the capabilities of the Port’s dock and the importance of the river as a transportation option for local manufacturers.”
Change on horizon at Lewis-Clark Terminal
Manager Arvid Lyons reflects on a satisfying career in the grain export industry
LCT Manager Arvid Lyons in the south scale room. Behind him is the control panel used to monitor the movement of grain through LCT. Multiple control panels were used before, but they were consolidated into one to make operations more efficient.
Arvid Lyons cut his teeth in agriculture picking berries as a kid for extra money, then worked in grain elevators during summer breaks from college. He spent seven years in wheat export terminals at the ports of Portland and Vancouver before accepting the management position at Lewis-Clark Terminal in 1986.
He’s seen many changes over the years. Capacity at the terminal, a privately-owned grain facility adjacent to the Port of Lewiston, has grown from 5
million to 9 million bushels, through the acquisition of adjacent facilities and outdoor storage additions. Lewis-Clark Terminal also added grain storage in Clarkston, began offering federally compliant grain inspection on-site and modernized operations under Lyons’ leadership.
On a sunny day in late February, Lyons is working in the Terminal’s south scale room. It’s a time of year you might not expect
to see the terminal bustling, but Lyons says they can see up to 100 truckloads a day as growers rush to move wheat on barges in advance of the March lock maintenance closure. During July and August harvest, the terminal sees about 350 truckloads per day.
“At harvest time everyone wants to go fast,” he said. “You rev yourself up to take care of them and then catch up on your sleep in September.
“I’ll miss the energy and excitement,” Lyons says of his pending May retirement. “And, the sense of accomplishment when you solve a problem.”
Scott Zuger will replace Arvid Lyons as LCT manager this summer. Zuger is a Whitman County native. He is a graduate of Endicott High School and Washington State University and has worked in the farmer’s cooperative system since 1994.
“I’m really looking forward to this job and this group of people,” he said.
Lyons says he’d like to see heightened understanding of the role grain farming, and agriculture in general, plays in the local economy and community. He’s also a staunch supporter of our river system.
“When you consider barging is the most efficient and environmentally sensitive form of transportation, and add in the benefit of power, flood control and irrigation, we should be championing dams instead of some groups talking about taking them out,” he said.
Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld said Lyons has done a lot to strengthen and champion local grain farming.
“You can always count on Arvid to lend his expertise about grain transport and agriculture,” said Doeringsfeld. “He’s been a great partner and confidant to all of us at the Port of Lewiston. “
Standing at the foot of some of LCT’s grain silos can help you grasp the scale of operations there. Some people have little knowledge about the Northport facility which can hold approximately 9 million bushels of grain. “We sometimes field calls from people asking what’s sticking out at the Port of Lewiston,” said Manager Arvid Lyons.
Port Commission Message
It’s exciting to see work on 18th Street North moving forward, especially when you consider the time and energy that went into planning upgrades to this busy city street in North Lewiston.
Eighteenth Street is an important commercial route into and out of the Northport area and the main thoroughfare for grain trucks headed to and from Lewis-Clark Terminal. The planned work on 18th Street will improve safety at intersections, including where trucks enter and exit on SH-128. Plans are also to widen the road to a consistent paved width (now a mixture of asphalt and gravel) and add curbing.
The process to improve 18th Street involved public and private input from start to finish. Improvements will be funded jointly by the City of Lewiston, Urban Renewal Agency, Idaho Transportation Department and the Port of Lewiston.
Communities all over the country are plagued with infrastructure needs that are too large for any one agency to fund on its own given its tax base. Citizens expect their local public agencies to work together to address these ‘heavy lift’ projects. Eighteenth Street will be an excellent example of collaboration and what we can accomplish when we work together.
Improvements to 18th Street were identified as a top priority in The Northport Transportation Study, adopted in April 2014. The study looked at rail and road improvements needed in the Northport area. The study began when the MPO (a transportation planning organization with representation from Asotin County, Nez Perce County, ITD, WADOT, Port of Clarkston, Port of Lewiston, City of Asotin, City of Clarkston, City of Lewiston, and Palouse RTPO) agreed it would be valuable for future transportation planning.
Funding for the study was provided by the LCVMPO, Lewis-Clark Terminal and the Port of Lewiston. An independent consultant, David Evans & Associates, conducted the corridor study. Additionally, Clearwater Economic Development Association assisted DEA with hosting multiple public meetings and stakeholder interviews to discuss the study.
The study, which is available on the Port’s website under Northport, was then brought forward to the URA Board to be used to help guide project improvements that could help the URA’s Revenue Allocation Area 2.
Ultimately, the URA Board, City of Lewiston, ITD and Port of Lewiston each agreed to fund the re-construction of 18th Street North through their respective processes.
Work on Harry Wall West begins as EKO moves
EKO Compost vacated its Down River Road location on March 1. The Port of Lewiston will now move forward with repurposing the site. Riedesel Engineering will be working on the site grading plan and hopes are to have work underway by late fall. Plans are to re-grade the EKO site and, using materials from the grading, create additional development sites on property to the east. You can learn more about the work planned by reading the Harry Wall Master Plan available on the Port’s website.
“It’s been a pleasure working with EKO through the years,” said Port Commission Vice President Jerry Klemm. “We wish them the best in future endeavors.”
EKO has a new retail location at 2231 2nd Ave. North in Lewiston.
Harry Wall Industrial Park, viewed from the northwest.
LC Ice Arena announces two upcoming events
Rocky Mountain Hockey Schools will host a skills camp May 5-8. Four clinics will be held for different age groups. Clinics include: Skills, Drills & Small Area Games (co-ed, 9-12 year old players); Body Contact/Checking (Peewee, Bantam, Midget boys and U19-U14 girls); Shooting & Stickhandling (Peewee boys & U19-U14 Girls) and Mite Mini 3 Day Camp (5-8 years). Cost to attend is $350 with the exception of Mite Mini Camp, which costs $175.
The RMHS staff is known for developing young athletes and giving them the tools to learn what it takes to get to the next level, according to the organization’s website: rmhshockey.com.
“We feel very privileged to have them run this event in Lewiston,” said Jennifer Graham, Lewis Clark Amateur Hockey Association treasurer.
LC Ice Arena will also host the Annual Spring Thaw Adult 4 vs. 4 Hockey Tournament April 8-10. Cost is $550 per team.
More info on both events can be found at the LCAHA website: lcaha.org.