- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

ARLINGTON, Ore. (AP) - A proposed barge dock in eastern Oregon has been removed from the Columbia River due to interference with tribal fishery.

Workers last week finished removing the Port of Arlington’s dock from the river, a location that has been approved nearly 10 years ago, leaving the port with a tab for $2 million worth of construction and engineering work, according to the East Oregonian (https://is.gd/O0j9Gg ).

The removal ends a decade of strife between the port and neighboring tribal entities.

A project application for the dock was sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2006 and permits were issued in 2007. The dock was supposed to inject some business into rural Gilliam County and its population of less than 2,000 people.

Shortly after construction of the dock began in 2007 the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation raised objections, saying the dock would interfere with fishing at Willow Creek.

The Army Corps revoked permits in 2008 but by then, the port had already spent $3.2 million and driven more than 40 steel pilings into the river. The port appealed all the way to U.S. District Court before voluntarily dropping the case in January 2015.

A spokeswoman for the Corps said the tribes’ concerns were not brought to their attention until after the dock permits were granted. She said there were “breakdowns in communication” with the tribes, which have since been addressed.

Oregon’s senators authorized the Corps to reimburse the port in federal spending bill, but the Corps could only refund direct construction costs. That means the $2 million the port spent on engineering plans are uncovered.


Information from: East Oregonian, https://www.eastoregonian.com

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