I share the concern of many who believe the Port of Umatilla is using strong-arm tactics in an effort to assert its will over the will of the affected community.

At issue is a truck docking facility proposed for land adjacent to Big River Golf Course where trucks would load and unload, possibly 24 hours a day. It is reported that the facility may create two full-time jobs.

Big River Golf Course is a major treasure for the larger community. Whether you golf or not, it’s a peaceful place that provides recreational opportunity and is a major contributor to the local economy. The golf course is a destination for many golfers from out of the area who stay in local motels and visit area restaurants. It attracts golf tournaments where people gather not only for fun but most often to support a worthy cause. It supports high school student athletes who use the facility for practice and matches. Its impact on the local economy touches other businesses in Umatilla and the larger surrounding area.

I support the port’s effort to create jobs and bring investment to this community. But golf course activities aren’t compatible with heavy industrial trucking activities. It’s important to have some kind of buffer between industrial uses, nearby homes and Big River Golf Course. And there are many other suitable locations for this proposed industrial facility.

It seems clear from news reports that the city intended the land for residential development. At one point in history, the port administration recognized that designation.

The Umatilla Planning Commission stood strong against the truck dock proposal and in favor of concerned and affected citizens. I hope the Umatilla City Council upholds that position.

I’m offended that the port is acting like a playground bully using big city attorneys and threatening lawsuits in an effort to intimidate the city. And I’m worried that they are demonstrating little concern for the desires of adjacent landowners and others who would like to see the golf course and nearby residents thrive.

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