In Memorium: Dick Montgomery

by Annie Linstrom 8/15/2014 4:44 PM

The Portland maritime community lost a great friend, historian and advocate with the passing of Dick Montgomery in July.

Montgomery handled advertising and public relations for the Commission for Public Docks from 1957 to 1971, including two successful bond campaigns. “Working on behalf of the Citizens Committee that benefited the Commission of Public Docks, I am particularly proud of helping to pass two general obligation bond measures,” said Montgomery in a past interview. “The two-to-one voter margin raised $22 million for Portland’s first container cranes and other harbor improvements.”

He contributed a wealth of knowledge and expertise during and after his 19 year career with the Port, retiring in 1995 as Maritime Public Affairs Manager. He was the editor of Portside, a popular publication read by many Port partners and stakeholders. Montgomery never truly left the Port, however, as he remained engaged as an informal mentor, historian, and committed champion of promoting trade on the river system. He was a regular attendee at Port Commission meetings and was on hand for events such as the 100-year anniversary of the Commission for Public Docks, Gateway to the Globe and most recently the opening of the dredge exhibit at the Oregon History Museum in May.

Montgomery was a past President of the Oregon Maritime Museum, and raised half a million dollars for upgrades to the Steamer Portland upon which the museum is located. He was also a docent for the museum, and you can still hear his voice narrating some of its videos. A great writer who penned a weekly transportation column in the Daily Shipping News for more than a dozen years, and numerous letters to The Oregonian editors, his last piece in the Spring issue of the museum’s newsletter, The Port Quarter, was about how history shaped the Port of Portland of today.

As written in the Spring 2007 Portside feature Titans of Trade, “With a love of the river and the state, Dick takes pride in his work and that of the Port, never missing the opportunity to share a bit of history, a signature story, or impart a word of ‘Old Salt’ wisdom.” Montgomery was the 1993 recipient of the "Old Salt" award, presented by the Portland Shipping Club for long service promoting the Columbia River shipping industry.

Port Invites Public to Join in the Fun at Seaport Celebration, Aug. 16

by Josh Thomas 8/11/2014 3:48 PM

The Port of Portland invites the public to go behind the scenes on the working waterfront to enjoy the summer family-friendly event of the year, Seaport Celebration, at marine Terminal 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Best of all, parking and admission are free.

Attendees can explore Portland’s thriving working waterfront on a jet boat ride, play “backhoe basketball,” climb aboard the last operating sternwheel steam towboat in the United States, check out local artwork portraying the waterfront in the Industry & Art exhibit, and enjoy good food while watching kids partner with professional chefs to compete for the title of “Kid Creation Chef” using Oregon exports as ingredients. With a kids fun zone for younger attendees, there is something for all ages.

  • Take a jet boat ride for $10 adults; $5 kids; 2 and under is free (first come, first served -- space is limited)
  • Explore interactive displays, including welding and melting metal
  • Play games and contests, bring home giveaways and prizes
  • Taste a variety of local flavors from Portland’s top food carts
  • Enjoy the outdoor art gallery and live entertainment on stage

The event will showcase a variety of local musicians on the main stage. From indie-rock to traditional African melodies, the nationally acclaimed headlining trio Recess Monkey will perform throughout the event, along with local bands Okropong and the Alphabeticians.

Some of Portland’s top food carts will be serving meals available for purchase, including Ash Wood Fired Pizza, Burgerville Nomad, Boyd’s Coffee, Gamila Café, Moberi Smoothies, Portland Ice Cream Company and Portland’s iconic donut shop, Voodoo Donuts.

Terminal 4 is located on the Willamette River in the St. Johns neighborhood at 11040 N. Lombard Street. The 262-acre, multi-use terminal is home to a distribution center for Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles, liquid agricultural fertilizer imports for International Raw Materials, soda ash exports used in the manufacture of glass, and a flour mill.


Event details and directions are available at

Dredge Oregon Prepares for New Life

by Josh Thomas 6/6/2014 5:31 PM

Think of it as the mechanical equivalent of a heart transplant. Replacing the inner workings that power the Dredge Oregon will allow it to more efficiently and effectively maintain the region’s vital lifeline with international markets – otherwise known as the navigation channel. Starting next week, Harbor Acceptance Testing will stress test the Oregon before it begins the next chapter of its already long life on the river.


Since 1965, the Dredge Oregon has been the workhorse of the Columbia River, removing sand bars and other navigation hazards from the navigation channel. The dredge operates around the clock, typically from June through October each year, working from Tongue Point near Astoria and inland 103.5 miles to the Portland Harbor. In its lifetime, it has seen consolidation of the Port with the Commission of Public Docks, eruption of Mt. St. Helens and deepening of the channel to 43 feet. But the Oregon was pushing 50 at a time when the average age of a dredging vessel is 25 years.


The Port initiated an ambitious repower project in November 2012. In two phases, work was performed locally to replace the main engine and pump, generators, and a variety of other key components. The investment in upgrades will allow the Dredge Oregon to operate cleaner and more efficiently.  It will reduce diesel particulate emissions by 88 percent and lower greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.


During the Harbor Acceptance Testing, the Dredge Oregon will be in the Willamette River simulating full scale operations using a small, governed pipeline. Water will be pumped during the testing, but the simulation will not involve any actual dredging and environmental precautions will be taken to ensure that the tests do not disturb fish or sediment. All aspects of the operation are fully vetted and closely monitored.


The Port serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ local sponsor of the federal navigation channels of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The Port owns and operates the dredge under contract with a crew of 42 employees. It is a non-propelled, cutter (suction) dredge with a steel superstructure and hull capable of dredging 1,000 to 1,200 cubic yards of material per hour.


Similar to road maintenance, dredges help ensure safe and efficient passage of ships carrying cargo to and from points around the globe. America’s Marine Highway System, as designated by the Maritime Administration, consists of more than 29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways and the Columbia and Willamette rivers are a critical part of that system. Approximately 42 million tons of cargo moves through the deep draft lower Columbia River annually, valued at roughly $20 billion.



For more information about dredging and the Dredge Oregon, visit the Oregon History Museum’s new exhibit “Working on the River.”

Related Link:


Working on the River: A History of Dredging


Auto Business Drives Rivergate Land Sale to BNSF Railway

by Josh Thomas 5/5/2014 11:59 AM

Already one of the largest auto import gateways in the U.S., Portland is also a fast growing gateway for auto exports. The improving auto market and recent influx of domestically produced vehicles for regional and international markets has prompted the sale of 5.4 acres from the Port of Portland to BNSF Railway.


Located in Rivergate Industrial District, BNSF Railway's 27-acre North Rivergate Vehicle Facility is expanding operations and capacity to include enhanced administrative support, vehicle staging and parking. The adjacent Port-owned property offered additional capacity and a rail easement to support expansion.


“BNSF Railway’s investment and growth plans for their auto business are aligned with the Port’s business objectives to enhance the Portland region as a hub for auto logistics,” said Joe Mollusky, real estate program manager for the Port.


BNSF Railway’s automotive rail network provides access to automotive plants throughout the United States and Mexico. Cars and trucks are received by rail in BNSF Railway’s Rivergate facility, processed and then distributed by truck to auto dealerships or exported by ship.


Autos are handled at two of the Port of Portland’s four marine terminals. Until 2012, the Port was primarily an import gateway, but automotive exports to Korea and China are now experiencing strong growth. Portland is the second largest auto import gateway on the U.S. West Coast and fifth largest in the nation.


Exports to China began just recently in October 2013, supported by a $2.8 million expansion of Auto Warehousing Company’s vehicle processing facility at the Port’s Terminal 6.


New Dredge Exhibit Opens at Oregon History Museum

by Josh Thomas 5/2/2014 5:18 PM


You are invited to explore an important part of Portland’s history that is seldom told in a new exhibit titled “Working on the River: A History of Dredging” at the Oregon History Museum. It opened just in time for World Trade Month on May 1 and will remain at the museum through October 31.

In honor of the repowering of the dredge Oregon this year, this exhibit traces the history of the dredging of our rivers for maritime trade and brings to life the people and machines whose work on the river has molded our region’s geography, trade routes and economic vitality.

“The ability of ships to get to and from the Portland region has shaped our city—both geographically and economically—helping it become a manufacturing center and transportation hub for products into and out of our region.” said Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt. “As a trade-dependent state, our marine highways are critical to our region’s continued success.”

A brief history of the Port as well as the importance of Portland as a national and international trade center and seaport is also examined in the exhibit within the context of the necessity of dredging to maintain safe and efficient ship traffic between the city and the Pacific Ocean.

Throughout the run of the exhibit, Multnomah County residents receive unlimited free admission. Regular admission is $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, $5 youth (6-18) and free for children under 5.

Related Link:
Working on the River: A History of Dredging 

Little Goose Navigation Lock Extends Maintenance Outage

by Josh Thomas 3/21/2014 4:30 PM

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District, the Little Goose navigation lock will not be returned to service as planned on March 22 due to a situation with the navigation lock downstream gate.


An update sent on Thursday, March 20, stated that the annual maintenance lock outage has been extended indefinitely.  The notice indicated that tests are being performed to confirm whether or not the gate can be operated safely, and that additional information would be provided on March 26.


Little Goose Lock and Dam is located in Washington on the Snake River at river mile 70.3. If the lock remains inoperable, it would impede barge traffic in that section of the river until the lock can be restored to working order.


For additional information, call the Operations Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District at (509) 527-7115 or (509) 527-7120.

Hanjin Shipping Delivers Good News for Local Shippers

by Josh Thomas 3/10/2014 12:27 PM

On Monday, March 10, Hanjin Shipping announced that it would continue its weekly transpacific vessel call in Portland.


The announcement comes as welcome news to the hundreds of shippers who depend on the carrier and its alliance partners to get cargo to and from international markets in Asia. According to Hanjin’s notification to the Port, the company will be reviewing operational performance on a quarterly basis.


“Hanjin has been a valued customer of the Port for 20 years, and they have an important shipping franchise in this market.” said Sam Ruda, chief commercial officer for the Port of Portland. “We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the case remains for Hanjin and all carriers to keep cargo moving through Portland’s Terminal 6.”


In October 2013, Hanjin officials indicated to the Port and terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, Inc. that low productivity and escalating costs needed to be addressed at the container terminal in order for the company to remain in the local market. Even with the decision to stay, operational conditions and labor productivity will need to stabilize and improve for container services calling Terminal 6 to be successful.


Hanjin is the largest container carrier calling Portland’s Terminal 6. The service represents nearly 80 percent of container throughput at the terminal, averaging about 1,600 containers per week. Hanjin has shipping contracts with many of the area’s largest shippers, and also provides significant vessel capacity servicing Oregon and regional agricultural shippers. The Hanjin service supports an estimated 657 direct jobs and $33 million in personal wages annually.


“We appreciate the support, commitment and patience shown by local shippers, as well as Hanjin, to continue this important service in Portland amidst some rough waters,” said Ruda. “With this decision, we are hopeful that all parties involved will work together to continue improving the competitiveness and reputation of the container terminal.”


The Port has a 25-year lease with ICTSI Oregon, Inc. for operation of the container terminal, where Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd and Westwood Shipping also provide container service for imports and exports. Besides containers, business lines at the Port’s four marine terminals include autos, minerals, grain, steel, project cargo and liquid bulks.

Help Recognize Companies Advancing Oregon’s International Trade

by Josh Thomas 2/14/2014 4:09 PM

Each year during International Trade Week, the Oregon Consular Corps recognizes private sector companies that have made a significant contribution to Oregon's standing as a leader in international trade, investment and their ability to create local family wage jobs.

You can help identify deserving recipients for this year’s Oregon International Business Awards and Consular Corps Scholarship Gala, called “Celebrate Trade.” This year’s call for nominations closes on Feb. 28, and you are invited to nominate a company or individual. You can also submit an application for your own company.


Awards will be presented in seven categories:


MAYOR AWARDS - Portland Metro only

·         Global Leader

·         Foreign Direct Investment

·         New Exporter


OREGON CONSULAR AWARDS - Statewide and Portland Metro

·         Individual Achievement

·         Ambassador Award


GOVERNOR AWARDS - Statewide and Portland Metro

·         Governor's Trade Leadership Award

·         Emerging Oregon Exporter


A designated steering committee will choose the winner for each category and the winners will be recognized at an awards dinner on Monday, May 19, 2014, at the Portland Art Museum. To find out more and to submit a nomination, please click on the link below. If you have questions, please contact Michou Jardini at 503-808-0974 or by email.


Celebrate Trade is presented by: Business Oregon, City of Portland, Greater Portland Inc., Oregon Consular Corps, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Pacific NW International Trade Assoc., Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, Port of Portland, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Related Link:

Celebrate Trade Nomination Form



Growth in Exports, New Development Emerge as Trends in Port’s Annual Results

by Josh Thomas 2/3/2014 11:24 AM

Looking back at the Port of Portland’s maritime trade statistics and industrial development projects over the past year, two notable trends emerged: increased export activity and facility investment.


With the successful start of Ford vehicle exports to China and Korea, increased demand for mineral exports, investment in new ship loaders, and a $40 million expansion of Columbia Grain’s Terminal 5 grain facility, the outlook for increased export volume looks promising.


Today, Portland is one of the top auto handling ports in the U.S., the largest mineral export gateway on the U.S. West Coast and the largest wheat export hub in the U.S. With total throughput of nearly 12 million tons, and more than 500 ship calls, the 2013 volume totals are as follows: 

  • Autos (import/export) – 262,512, down 7.6%
  • Breakbulk (import) – 903,067, down 8.3%
  • Containers (import/export) – 178,451 TEU, down 2.6%
    • Import containers – 82,336 TEU, up 13.3%
    • Export containers – 96,115 TEU, down 11.5%
  • Grain (export) – 3,511,490 tons, down 12.7%
  • Minerals (exports) – 5,072,060, up 5.7%
  • Total tonnage – 11,937,580 tons, down 3.4% 

While tonnage was down slightly for the calendar year, the Port finished 2013 with one of the highest volume months in recent history with 1.3 million tons handled in December and posted fiscal year gains at the halfway point that bode well for the year ahead.


On the labor front, a jurisdictional dispute was resolved at the container terminal through direct involvement from Governor Kitzhaber. The Port and its terminal operator, ICTSI Oregon, await a pending decision by Hanjin Shipping on whether the carrier will continue to call Portland. Full import containers were up 13.3% in 2013.


On the landside, expansion projects, new construction and pending development projects at the Port’s marine terminals, industrial parks and other properties are yielding private investment, short and long term employment opportunities and economic benefits for the region.


The Port amended a lease agreement and worked closely with Business Oregon and Portland Development Commission to help land Daimler Trucks North America’s new headquarters project on Swan Island. It will house up to 1,200 employees and prompt an estimated $150 million in private investment to construct the building. The project will bring at least 350 new high salary jobs.


In Rivergate Industrial District, Archer Daniels Midland Company constructed a new sweetener terminal, and Ajinomoto North America added a 9,000 square foot consumer foods division office and a research and development center. At Portland International Center, the first phase of a three building, 833,360 square foot state-of-the-art logistics park is currently under construction.


Construction and expansion were also common themes at the marine terminals. This included removal of antiquated equipment, new road and rail enhancements, additional storage facilities to add capacity and new ship loaders to increase efficiency. Auto Warehousing Company also completed a $2.8 million project to expand its processing building. The building grew by 27,000 square feet and boosted capacity to more than 110,000 vehicles annually.


The Port continues to develop and market Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park – home to a FedEx Ground regional distribution hub – and Gresham Vista Industrial Park. Gresham Vista joined Oregon's Certified Industrial Lands program, and will be an eco-industrial district fostering sustainable design and operational practices. An 11,000-square-foot clinic for Fresenius Medical Care North America was the first new construction on one of the only commercially zoned lots.


The Port decided to withdraw its consent to annex West Hayden Island when it became clear that the City’s mitigation requirements were not proportionate to potential development impacts and would price any developable land out of the market. Despite this outcome, industrial land remains a critical part of the Port’s strategic plan.


As one of the largest industrial landowners in the state, the Port continues to make the best possible use of its existing properties and is committed to identifying sites to attract traded sector companies that sell goods and services internationally. To this end, the Port has also extended its service area for foreign trade zones through an alternative site framework to help attract more businesses to the area.


In addition to its offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei, the Port has expanded overseas representation in mainland China with offices in Shanghai and Tianjin. Agents in these Port offices are responsible for marketing and retention efforts by maintaining direct customer contact abroad.


For more information about the Port of Portland, go to

Heads Up: Lock Maintenance Closures Begin March 1

by Annie Linstrom 1/29/2014 5:14 PM

The time has come once again when a series of locks and dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will be closed for annual maintenance beginning in March.

During the closures, crews will inspect critical navigation structures on the river system and perform any necessary repairs.


According to the Portland and Walla Walla districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the work is scheduled as follows:


March 1-15

Closures include Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary on the Columbia River; and Lower Granite Locks on the Snake River.


March 1-22

Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, and Little Goose Locks on the Snake River will close for an extended period of time to perform additional repair work.


The river system is a vital resource to the economy and critical asset to the Pacific Northwest. Maintaining the navigation channel and infrastructure on our marine highways helps preserve access to domestic and global markets for a variety of shippers.


Related links:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Walla Walla District) – Public Notice

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Portland District) – Public Notice

About Port Dispatch

 Editor: Josh Thomas
Production Team: Martha Richmond, Randy Fischer, Melissa Valli, Henry Gonzalez, Teri Loporchio, Jerry McCarthy, Brooke Berglund 
The Port Dispatch production team is interested in your feedback. Please send comments, suggestions or questions to Josh Thomas.