The Port of Portland has pulled out of talks to annex West Hayden Island, saying city environmental demands are too high.
Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt sent a letter to Mayor Charlie Hales this morning, saying City Council's unwillingness to budge on environmental mitigation is a deal-breaker for the Port's long-desired deep-water marine terminal.
"The port will not continue with the annexation process at this time and withdraws its consent to annexation," Wyatt wrote. "The city, unfortunately, will now have to deal with the consequences of a severe shortfall in industrial land." The news was first reported today by The Oregonian.
Hales' office provided the letter to WW after a records request.
"The mayor has heard the Port's opinion and totally understands the perspective from which they approach this," says Hales spokesman Dana Haynes. "But he hasn't had the opportunity to read, analyze and respond to today's letter."
Port officials say that a 300-acre marine terminal on West Hayden Island could generate more than 1,000 new jobs—a claim WW examined last summer.
The Portland Sustainability Commission approved annexation in August, but added environmental mitigation requirements the Port found onerous.
UPDATE, 1:45 pm: Mayor Charlie Hales' office tells WW the mayor does not want to see West Hayden Island annexation revisited any time soon.
"He does not," says Dana Haynes, the mayor's spokesman. "The proposal meant hundreds of jobs, many years in the future... West Hayden Island was a spot, but not the spot, for job growth in the city."
Haynes says when Wyatt met with Hales last week, the Port did not present the mayor with a counter-offer to the recommendations made by the Portland Sustainability Commission.
(Haynes has written WW to say the Port did send an offer in October, though Wyatt did not bring it last week. The mayor's office did not have the Port's offer immediately available.)
"As I understand it," Haynes says, "the Port wanted the mayor to intercede with the Planning and Sustainability Commission, and the mayor said he wasn't going to do that."