St. Helens city staff and councilors discussed a new marine industry that is set to take over the former Boise Cascade property, city legislative priorities, and a municipal court review during their July 15 work session.
Wilsonville Concrete Properties (WCP) is set to lease moorage space at the St. Helens Industrial Business Park docks, which are situated on what used to be the site of the Boise Cascade veneer plant, shut down in 2008, and the Boise White paper mill.
The company is in charge of marine transportation, barge unloading, dredging, and marine construction.
WCP Vice President Michael Bernert said at the meeting that the company is ready to begin operations at the docks because they have accomplished a number of tasks: engineering study of existing dock structures, updating of the DSL lease, and preparing a moorage lease agreement, which makes them ready to move their fleet onto the former Boise Cascade site.
The remaining work left to be done is on services, parcelization for industrial river frontage, moving their fleet to St. Helens, and building a vibrant marine ecosystem by attracting peers and partners, Bernert said.
“We’re really excited to partner with the city in building something that’s vibrant in the city of St. Helens,” Bernert said.
Councilor Stephen Topaz asked if the company was prepared to repair tugboats and barges if needed, to which Bernert responded that they can make either a floating dock or lift the vessel onto land.
The presence of WCP in St. Helens will promote regional economic development, according to city staff.
City staff and councilors also discussed other topics, including:
• City legislative priorities: City councilors weighed in on the priorities they want the League of Oregon Cities to focus on for the next state legislative session. City Administrator John Walsh recommended Broadband Infrastructure and Technical Assistance Funding, Property Tax Reform, Right of Way/Franchise Fees, and Long-term transportation infrastructure funding.
• Municipal court semi-annual report: Municipal Court Judge Amy Lindgren reported on working with Columbia Community Mental Health (CCMH) to address mental health and substance abuse issues address in the court system. The purpose is to follow-through more with referrals to the court, Lindgren said. Lindgren also updated the city on COVID-19 protocols. Hearings have all been virtual, and traffic hearing have been postponed since March, to resume July 16.
• City Financial report: Assistant City Administrator Matt Brown reported that the General Fund revenue finished its fiscal year with revenue higher than projected. Budgeted revenue was $9.9 million, end revenue was $10.2 million.
The council is expected to hold a regular meeting by Zoom Wednesday night at 7 p.m. A report from Mayor Scholl and a resolution authorizing application for community block grant funds for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance are included in the agenda.
Follow the St. Helens City Council here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.