Today Warrenton experienced a historic event that has been a long time coming.
After years of research, negotiations, and inter-agency discussions, the City of Warrenton was given ownership to the lands that surround the Hammond Marina.
Stewards of the land for over 50 years, the city has maintained, improved and kept it a viable marina and one of Oregon’s most used fishing marinas on the Oregon Coast.
Todays ceremony was marked with speeches of congratulations and well wishes from a variety of dignitaries.
Most notable was Colonel Dorf of the Corp Of Engineers. The following is a brief history of the Marina and how it began and where it is today.
Excerpt from Colonel Dorf comments:
“Behind me, you see part of the land that was secured by the Secretary of War, the Honorable Henry Stimson, in 1942 for military or “other war purposes.” In securing this land, he wrote,
“The said lands are necessary, adequate to provide for a mooring basin and dock facilities required for Harbor Defenses. The said lands have been selected … for use in connection with the establishment of Fort Stevens, Oregon, and for such other uses as may be authorized by Congress or by Executive Order, and are required for immediate use.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges – and Henry Stimson knew that World War II was going to be tough.
In 1954, the property was transferred from military use to civil works for navigation operation and maintenance of the mouth of the Columbia River.
Design and construction of the breakwater to enclose the boat basin began in the 1940’s and was completed by the Corps, and reconfigured for civil works purposes in 1977.
The Mayor of Hammond in 1967, Robert J. Fox, applied to lease this tract for recreational purposes, writing that the town desired to develop and maintain a portion of the “project area for a year-around Public Park, featuring a boat launching ramp, moorage facilities and picnic areas with access to the river.”
The Corps of Engineers leased Hammond Boat Basin to the Town of Hammond, which later became part of City of Warrenton, for over 50 years. It has been well-tended by the City for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. It’s been the favored site for fishermen, boaters, campers and local families for decades. “
Other notable speakers included representatives from the offices of Senator Merkley and Congresswoman Bonamici, previous Warrenton Mayor and Clatsop County commissioner, Mark Kujala, Current Mayor Henry Balensifer, and the ever-popular Senator Betsy Johnson.
Several current and past city commissioners, as well as planning commissioners and task force members were also in attendance.
Following the remarks, a formal signing of the deed was done and a presentation of a ships helm with memorial engraving was presented to the city by the Corp of Engineers.
An additional highlight of the event was having the State award winning Warrenton high school band playing for the crowd after which, everyone was treated to a celebratory cake with punch following the formal signing and presentation.
In discussions after the ceremony with City Manager, Linda Engebretson, she indicated that this would now allow the city to pursue a master plan of the area to decide what is the best way forward in developing the newly acquired lands. Careful, thoughtful, and wise consideration needs to be a priority. A task force has been established to discuss the future of the Hammond Marina.