By Ben Sheppard, Port Commission President
The past year has been one of significant change at the Port of Hood River. Much progress has been made on new projects and initiatives that will benefit our local economy. I’m happy to share a renewed sense of excitement and commitment to the work we do.
The significant progress made toward bridge replacement in the past year has really energized our Commission and staff. We see timelines shortening and certainty increasing for this project that everyone in our region agrees should be completed as soon as possible. None of the project’s federal funding requests were successful last year, but we are undeterred and will continue the march forward. We are grateful for the work of our community partners on the Bi State Working Group and Washington legislators, especially Senator Curtis King, for their work in securing a $75 million commitment for the project from the Washington legislature. On the Oregon side, Sen. Daniel Bonham and Rep. Jeff Helfrich are working hard to advocate for matching funding.
As responsibility for the bridge replacement project transfers to the Hood River White Salmon Bridge Authority on July 1 of this year, the Port’s primary focus will be the work of budgeting and planning for a future without the bridge as a primary revenue source. This is certain to bring more significant changes ahead. We ask all Port District constituents to remain engaged in the public process as we chart this course.
We expect a very busy season on the Hood River waterfront once again in 2023. I wish you all a very fun – and safe – year ahead.