Your comments in Our View got straight to the heart of the Port of Umatillas determined efforts to site a heavy industrial operation next to residences and the local golf course. To be clear, I am not opposed to placing the port project on the land cited in the ODOT grant proposal. After reading the 238-page grants I dont believe that it will generate income or create local jobs. The grant clearly says even if the project is operational, it will create only two jobs. If the state of Oregon and ODOT want to spend taxpayer money betting on the outcome, I guess thats the business of ODOT.
I have multiple concerns about the current site being considered. They included noise pollution, hazardous materials and pollution.
Two Ill discuss here:
First, this process has generated expense for me as a business owner in terms of money and time. I imagine, given the ports big city lawyer and their suit against the city, they too, are racking up bills. The budget for the port comes from revenue from merchants, public entities and taxpayers. That means Im paying for the port managers personal crusade. As a taxpayer and voter I have allowed the port very deep pockets. I am disappointed they are spending money in a frivolous manner when solutions are cheap. In a port of Umatilla board meeting on Feb. 11, Commissioner John Turner asked Ron Hosek for an alternate site for the project. Hosek noted two acceptable options, both within 200 yards of the site under dispute.
Second, the port manager is an employee. I have no idea the scope of his power or authority, but based on the last several months it appears to be substantial. He serves at the pleasure of the board of commissioners, just as they serve at the pleasure and will of the voters. As the port commissioners have been silent in the fiasco I dont know if they approve of the heavy-handed tactics of the manager or if they lack the leadership and supervisory skills needed to manage this position.
The television and schools are teaching our young to stand up to playground bullies and say no. I say no more money, votes, bonds passed until you stop bullying our community.