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The airport is just one of the factors the port considers in its Strategic Business Plan.

The Port of Hood River has officially started updating its Strategic Business Plan — a document that port staff and commissioners use as a blueprint for all of the port’s operations — for the years 2020-2026. 

The plan is the primary guiding policy document for port staff and commissioners and includes the port’s mission statement, values, and goals for the next few years.

The current Strategic Business Plan was adopted in 2014 and intended to expire in 2018. It was last updated in 2015 and is available in its entirety at portofhoodriver.com/about-the-port/mission-strategic-business-plan.

In addition to assessments of current economic and market conditions, the plan includes an assessment of port facilities, assets and infrastructure — which include the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge, the Ken Jernstedt Airfield, economic development projects waterfront recreation sites and trails, as well as real estate at Waterfront Business Park, the Hood River Marina and Port Marina Park.

The goal of the update process is to reassess these conditions and assets to determine what has changed since the plan was last updated in 2015, determine what factors are driving those changes, and identify “efforts that the port could and should consider in response to those changes,” said Michael McElwee, executive director for the Port of Hood River.

One of the drivers of change the port will look at is the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge, and how best to balance repair costs with replacement efforts. McElwee said there is an “underlying uncertainty” about how much to continue investing into the current bridge to keep it safe and fully operational, and how much to redirect into the ongoing replacement efforts — especially given that it will be years before the potential new bridge is operational, and the existing bridge has to continue functioning safely until it is. “So, there’s a certain tension between the two,” McElwee said.

A kickoff-meeting was held during the port’s annual Fall Planning Session on Nov. 19, where port staff and commissioners spent roughly three-and-a-half hours going through the existing Strategic Business Plan to identify what elements likely needed to be changed, and to get oriented to the lengthy update process. The work session was facilitated by Terry Moore, a local Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP).

Port officials intend to have the update completed by the end of the current fiscal year: June 2020.

Between now and then, the port intends to hold three work sessions (all open to the public) and initiate an extensive public outreach effort, including surveys and three community meetings.

A meeting schedule and information about upcoming surveys will most likely be released in December.

The port has contracted the same consulting firm that is currently working on public outreach for the Bridge Replacement Project to also lead public outreach for the Strategic Business Plan update.

Anne Pressentin, an associate at EnviroIssues, is leading both efforts.

 “She was working on the Bridge Replacement Project, so she has good knowledge on the area,” said McElwee of Pressentin.

The port commission approved a $19,000 contract with EnviroIssues for work related to the Strategic Business Plan update during its Nov. 19 meeting.

The total project cost is estimated around $115,000, which includes the EnviroIssues contract.

The port is working on a grant request for $50,000 from the Business Oregon Port Planning & Marketing Fund, and the port will pledge a $65,000 cash match to that grant.

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