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CHARLESTON — The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has been pursuing solutions to provide commercial grade flake ice to the fishing fleet following the fire at the ice plant on Dec. 19, 2019.

Following a declaration of emergency, staff have been working as quickly as possible to minimize any impacts to the local fishing fleet, according to a press release from the Port.

The Charleston Ice House can no longer function to provide fishermen with ice for their catch following a fire that gutted the building on Dec…

"Staff explored options to lease equipment for short-term relief while a long-term solution was pursued. Unfortunately, leasing equipment is not an option as the units necessary to produce the type of ice required by the fleet are only available for purchase," the release said. "Temporary systems that have been identified to this point are cost prohibitive and would have insufficient capacity to transition to a long-term solution."

Additionally, staff learned that the short- and long-term solutions had similar delivery time frames, which led the focus to expediting the permanent solution. However, temporary solutions will continue to be explored until the facility is rebuilt.

The Port is committed to replacement of the ice plant facility in Charleston and is actively in the process of procuring services and materials to support this effort, with many components under contract for manufacturing, the release continued. If possible, the Port will replace the former ice plant with a facility that has a greater ice manufacturing capacity.

“It’s essential that we get this project completed as quickly as possible to ensure the needs of the fleet are met now and into the future,” said Charleston Marina Harbormaster Brandon Collura.

A fire rages on the Charleston Ice Dock releasing a plume of ammonia laden smoke Dec. 19, 2019 in Charleston.

An engineering firm and prime contractor have been selected to complete the necessary work and engineering and design have commenced.

The Charleston Marina serves as the third largest commercial fishing hub in the state. In 2018, over 25 million pounds of fish and shellfish were landed with a value of more than $34 million according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The commercial fishing industry is a critical component to the regional economy of southwestern Oregon.

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