About the Port
One of the most common questions we get is "What does the Port do?". While the Port of Coos Bay is engaged and facilitates many community and economic activities of the region, our main lines of business can be separated out into three parts: Marine Operations, the Coos Bay rail line, and the Charleston Marina Complex.
The Port’s boundaries include the Coos Bay harbor, which has been critical to the development of the region, serving as the multimodal connection point for logs, lumber, and woodchips produced by the region’s mills, and the watershed of the Coos and Millacoma Rivers. While the timber industry is smaller than it once was, it is still a major source of jobs in the region.
The Port serves as a facilitator to the harbor’s maritime industry and as an economic development and transportation advocacy organization, promoting marine and industrial growth throughout southwest Oregon and the state, and economic activity in national and international markets. As of 2015, the Port offers diverse facilities and infrastructure to support the regional economy, including a large commercial fishing fleet based at the Charleston Marina, which is part of a complex that includes the Charleston Ice Dock, the Charleston Boatyard, the Charleston Marina RV Park, and a U.S. Coast Guard installation. These facilities serve various market segments, including commercial fishing and seafood processing, recreational fishing and boating, tourism, and a growing retail and commercial sector. In addition to tenants of the Port, a number of fish processing firms in the port district depend on the local fleet for their raw product.
The Port expanded its transportation portfolio in recent years with the acquisition of the Coos Bay rail line, which is operated as Coos Bay Rail Link (CBR), and connects Coos, western Douglas, and western Lane counties to the North American freight rail system. The CBR is a cost‐effective and efficient transport option for the forest products and local dairy industries and is a key component of reaching the Port’s economic development goals. In addition to the Charleston facilities and the CBR, the Port owns several marine industrial sites (none are currently used for cargo movements) and is one of the lead agencies that helps maintain the federal navigation channel that provides access to the private marine terminals.
The Port owns a number of properties in the North Spit, East Bay and Upper Bay areas of Coos Bay which are zoned for industrial use and future business development, recreational use and activity, and environmental mitigation.
In addition to Port‐owned facilities, the Port is the non‐federal sponsor for navigation system maintenance and improvements. This navigation system includes the jetties at the mouth of Coos Bay, the channel leading to the Charleston Marina, and the deep draft channel that provides access to the upper portions of Coos Bay, approximately 15 miles from the bay entrance. The depth of the channel at the entrance is ‐47 feet mean lower low water (MLLW). Channel depth is maintained at ‐37 feet MLLW for the length of the 15.2 mile channel.
The Port District
Oregon has a total of 23 Port Districts and the Port of Coos Bay is one of the larger port districts along Oregon's coastline. The Port was founded as a port district in 1909, although litigation challenging its establishment delayed creation of a formal district until 1912. The Coos Bay district is the largest of three port districts in Coos County (the others are Bandon and Coquille River).
As a Port District, the Port of Coos Bay's role is to foster economic development and growth in the assigned district, region and state. The Port of Coos Bay is Oregon's largest deep-draft coastal harbor and the main economy of the region lies within the timber, seafood, and tourism industry. Since the port district lies along the coast line, transit time for deep draft vessels from open ocean is only about 90 minutes allowing safer and easier access than the Columbia River. Within the Port district, the Port owns thousands of acres of industrial waterfront property on the North Spit, the Charleston Marina Complex, East Bay and Upper Bay sites along the harbor, and the Coos Bay rail line. The three main lines of business for the Port therefore are maritime operations, the rail line and the Charleston marina.
All of Oregon's Port districts are either along the coastline or along the Columbia River. The Port of Coos Bay is a Seaport located on the Mid-southern coastline of Oregon and is one of the larger Port districts in Oregon. As a port district, the Port of Coos Bay is a government agency that serves the public with a focus on business development and profit-making ventures. As a result, about 75% of the port's $10.5 million annual budget is derived from business operations while only 15% is from property taxes and 9% is from other miscellaneous avenues.
The main role of most port districts is to facilitate and promote the economic development and growth of their region and of Oregon. This is likewise for the Port of Coos Bay, whose mission is to promote sustainable development throughout the Southwest Oregon region, state and nation. This is pursued through private-public partnership economic development projects, capital improvement projects, and promoting regional industry growth to the nation. The largest city on Oregon's south coast, Coos Bay is in a unique position as a multi-modal connection point by sea, by rail, by air and by road. The Port of Coos Bay's role is to advocate for and develop the infrastructure of the area through business development, capital improvement, and public-private partnerships in order to further the economic growth of the region. It comes down to allowing our farmers, our loggers, our fishermen and other constituents the ability to transport their products throughout the state, nation and world.
The Port partners with various stakeholders to pursue these efforts. To continue the efforts for economic growth and expansion, the Port relies on the local community for support and ideas on how to better serve them. As such, the Port of Coos Bay will continue to welcome your feedback and ideas.
Coos Bay rail line
As stated previously, the Port owns the Coos Bay rail line, which is operated as Coos Bay Rail Link (CBR), an approximately 134‐mile freight rail line from Danebo Junction (in west Eugene) to Coquille. The Port purchased the line from west Eugene to the north end of the Coos Bay Swing‐span Bridge (111 miles) in 2009 from Central Oregon & Pacific (CORP) Railroad/Rail America Inc. The Port acquired the Coos Bay Swing‐span Bridge in 2001 from Union Pacific as part of a rehabilitation project. The Port acquired the line from the Swing‐span Bridge to Coquille (23 miles) from Union Pacific in 2010.
Following the acquisitions, the Port began rehabilitation of the rail infrastructure, including various tunnel, track, and bridge repairs. In 2011, service was restored to 111‐ miles of the Coos Bay rail line from the North Spit to Eugene, and in 2013, the Port restored service to the entire 134‐mile line. The Coos Bay rail line consists of nine tunnels, three swing‐span bridges, more than 150 water crossings, and more than 40 at‐grade and signalized crossings. The 134‐mile Coos Bay rail line has served for nearly 100 years as an essential link between southwest Oregon communities and the coastal shipping hub of Coos Bay. It provides efficient and cost‐effective access to regional, national, and global markets and the North American Class 1 freight rail system.
Charleston Marina Complex
The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay owns and operates the Charleston Marina, the Charleston Marina RV Park and the Charleston Shipyard, all of which serve various market segments in the community – commercial fishing and seafood processing, recreational fishing and boating, tourism and a growing retail and commercial sector.
The port adopted a master plan for the development and management of port-owned property and marine related activities in the Charleston area in the early 1990s and updated that plan in early 2007 to reflect changing economic conditions, environmental values and shifts in facility use over the years.
With completion of several projects related to the plan, the port worked with community members starting in December 2012 through June 2013 in a collaborative process for a 2013 Charleston Harbor Master Plan Update. A Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE)/AmeriCorps representative facilitated the process to gather community input from users of the facilities, local area residents, other public agencies and various advocacy and community support groups in the Charleston area. From that information, the port developed this comprehensive and flexible plan to produce the greatest benefit for Charleston and Oregon’s Bay Area.
As Oregon’s Gateway and through its designation as a state port, the Port of Coos Bay is uniquely positioned to influence the local economy. The Port’s involvement in regional economic development allows it to implement dynamic programs to help generate new industrial operations in the bay area, in support of its role in the continued growth and development of Oregon’s south coast.