- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - The Port of Lewiston is considering spending about $50,000 to repair and refurbish a crane used to lift containers.

“You either spend the money now or you get in trouble,” Port Manager David Doeringsfeld told port commissioners Wednesday.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/R6WmnB) that the plan calls for $20,000 to be used to repair a crack in the frame. Doeringsfeld says another $15,000 will be used to refurbish the engine, and that $15,000 will be needed to pay for the cost of coordinating the work.

The port’s crane has been used since 1974, and was fully refurbished about 18 years ago.

The port in northern Idaho is the most inland seaport on the West Coast, and handled 4,439 containers in 2013.

Other expenses at the port include a container dock, where $20,000 is needed to buy an engine for a forklift that moves containers, called a top pick. Doeringsfeld said the port has two top picks, the minimum needed to keep the port running.

He said an engine failure could take up to 60 days to fix if the port didn’t have a spare.

“Even if we have a slide in exports coming out of here, we’ve got to be prepared,” Port Commissioner Jerry Klemm said.

Doeringsfeld said port operations have been hampered this year because of an annual maintenance closure of a barging channel along the Snake and Columbia rivers between Lewiston and Portland, Oregon. He noted the closure lasted more than twice as long as predicted.

Commissioners are also considering adding about $110,000 to the port’s budget to extend a sewer line to the edge of the property to serve potential tenants.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com