Jim Hitchman of Waldport was honored by the Port of Toledo at its regular meeting Tuesday for his contributions to the Port and its Youth Boating programs. Hitchman recently finished a book, ‘The Port of Toledo Oregon 1910-2010,’ which goes on sale for $10 at the Wooden Boat Show. After being honored, Hitchman told Port Commisisoners and staff, “I hope (the book) will be of use over the years. I thought I was done with this thing in May, but Debbie (Port Secretary Debbie Scacco) found more material, and Bud (Port Director Bud Shoemake) found more records and Nancy (Office Assistant Nancy Lynne) made some really good suggestions…they recaulked the whole ship and now it will float.” Hitchman’s wife, Carolyn estimates he spent between 400 and 500 hours on the project over six months.
Hitchman taught history at Portland State and Western Washington University, where he was also Dean of Students. He has been an avid sailor, and has donated two boats to the Port, the 17′ Teak Lady, which was built in Hong Kong in 1958, and the 15′ sailing skiff “Winterhawk”, planned by nationally-known designer Ken Swan of Hubbard and built by Rick Johnson of Toledo. The sails were by Lunn Fabricant of Eugene. Hitchman donated the Winterhawk to the Port’s Youth program.
Hitchman provided the Wavelength with an abstract of the book:
• Local business leaders established the Port of Toledo in 1910, following a new Oregon State law at a time when many public port authorities began in the United States.
• Over its 100 years the port’s main duties have been acquiring property, dock maintenance, dredging, renting space and seeking funds.
• The port is essentially a public agency for financing and managing projects to attract private business and provide public access to the waterfront.
• Since 1910, the port has cooperated with many agencies from city and county to the State Marine Board , Departments of Environmental Quality, Oregon Fish and Wildlife and Economic Development and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
• The original port property started near Catherine St., where Yaquina Boat Equipment is today and has expanded northward along Depot Slough to NW 1st St. The port has also added a public boat launch facility at the airport, a storage complex on NW Bay Road, a Paddle Park near Criteser’s moorage downriver and the old firehall (now Port Dock One) at the top of Bus. Hwy 20 in Toledo.
• Depot Slough has been dredged ten times in 100 years. The Yaquina River from Oysterville to Toledo was cleared to a ten foot depth in 1914 and has never been deepened since then.
• The port relied on bonds and tax levies in the early years and recently has benefited from grants and loans as well as levies. The port also receives income from moorages and space leases.
• The Toledo lumber mills generated most of the commerce on Yaquina Bay and River; the ports of Newport and Toledo played only minor roles. The peak years for waterborne commerce, mostly tugs, logs and barges, ran from the 1940s to the 1960s.
• Prominent port tenants in the years before World War II were the Andersen Boat Works and Cooperative Creamery. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Hoffman Towing , Yaquina Boat Works, Fairline Marine and the Sause barging operation stood out. In recent years, notable businesses on port property have been Yaquina Boat Equipment (working on fishing boats). Island Wild Seafoods, American Grounding Systems and Pacific Expedition Yacht Builders.
• The dream of a deeper channel for ocean vessels changed in the 1980s to plans for light industry, recreation, ship repair and intermodal facilities for trucks, trains and vessels, plans being developed today along Depot Slough and Tokyo Slough.