NOAA confirms plans to move research fleet to Newport

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday affirmed its intention to move its  its fleet of Pacific research vessels from Washington state to Newport, on the central Oregon Coast.

The General Accounting Office had asked the agency to review the planned move, first announced seven months ago, after officials in Washington State objected.

NOAA issued its finding Tuesday morning, saying none of the three competing Washington sites — Bellingham, Port Angeles or Lake Union — offers a practicable alternative to Newport.  Among other things, the report addressed a major objection – that the Newport site is located a flood plain – by noting measures that will be taken to mitigate flood risk; it also notes that the Washington contenders are also situated in flood plains.  The analysis  gave all three   Washington locations lower technical ratings – and higher estimated costs – than the Port of Newport site.

The report report has a 30-day public comment period, and Washington’s Sen. Maria Cantwell vowed to continue fighting the relocation. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, however, called the report definitive.

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Read the full NOAA report (.pdf)

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