portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

actions & protests | environment

Ship Breaking on the Oregon Coast?

Invasive species, other than humanoid, might soon be infesting our beautiful coast. It's a new take on the old theme of 'Californicating Oregon'. Ghost ships from California -- rusting hulks, up to 500 feet long -- might soon be wallowing in Newport's Yaquina Bay.
Bay Bridge Enterprises, based in Virginia, wants to build a ship-breaking facility to cut apart old military ships for recycling. A 59-vessel fleet of them is rusting in Suisun Bay near Benicia, Calif. Bay Bridge wants to tow these vessels up to Oregon for dismantling.

If dioxins, metals or other harmful substances are released into Yaquina Bay, the fear is they would cause outright damage to the bay, or concentrate up the food chain. These ships contain: polychlorinated biphenyls (cancer-causing PCBs), lead/chromate paint, oils, waste fuel, mercury, lead, cadmium, benzene, and asbestos that could affect bay life, including crabs, birds, oysters, commercial and sport fisheries, and HUMANS.

And the benefits to Oregonians and the residents of the Newport area? Seventy-five to 125 family wage jobs.

The Port of Newport came within days of approving this risky business, without asking for any input from the citizens of Newport and Lincoln County. Well, they've been getting lots of input now! The vast majority says: "NO WAY!"

There was a big, overflow meeting with about 300 pissed-off residents at the Embarcadero in Newport, Oregon on December 6. The meeting lasted 5 hours!

Meanwhile, Port of Newport General Manager Don Mann says: "We continue to support the jobs they're offering." Please (politely) let Don know what YOU think at  portman@portofnewport.com

Mailing Address: Port of Newport, 600 SE Bay Blvd., Newport, OR 97365
Phone: (541) 265-7758
Fax: (541) 265-4235

The decision will be made sometime in January, 2006.

A partial list of concerns:

1. Both the Oregon Coast Aquarium and nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center draw high-quality water from Yaquina Bay. Officials at both facilities fear pollution runoff.

2. There are 157 invasive species in San Francisco Bay where the Ghost Fleet resides, and 51 in Coos Bay. That means there are 100 invasive species in the San Francisco Bay area that are not here.

3. Yaquina Bay is a continentally Important Bird Area, with several endangered species present.

4. There are 15 or more blue heron nests and other bird species on the tide flats near the proposed shipbreaking site.

5. The tides extend 15 miles up the Yaquina River. The largest oyster farm in Oregon could be affected.

6. The money-spending tourists will not be viewing these rusting hulks as an asset to the beautiful Oregon coast.

7. The beautiful Portlanders who come to the coast for rest and relaxation will certainly not be pleased with these monstrosities.

By the way, Oregon's DEQ has NO EXPERIENCE dealing with shipbreaking operations!

Local news articles about this invasion of our coastal waters:

The hinterlands are being thrown to the pirates! 20.Dec.2005 17:42

Portlanders, awaken!

The LNG refinery scams move ahead, as well, on the mouth of the Columbia River. These activities will render us powerless in the face of the corporate leviathan/federal government, and will deplete our rivers and sea, converting Cascadia into a heavy industry wasteland.

All this is happening to us NOW--there must be voluble opposition, and we must be prepared to challenge the pirates forever.


Newport is only their first choice 20.Dec.2005 19:14


Bay Bridge Enterprises seems determined to establish a shipbreaking facility somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

They are considering two or three other sites in Oregon, and one in Washington, for a shipbreaking facility. In Oregon -- Coos Bay, Astoria, and Swan Island in Portland have been mentioned.

Cascadia WAKE UP!!! 21.Dec.2005 02:55

a Cascadian

I agree this is a MAJOR ISSUE if we wish to even keep any thing left of our eco systems

Please Wake Up Cascadians this should be at the forefront our issues!

this MUST be an issue that all Cascadians should unite under 21.Dec.2005 03:01

a cascadian

please join this group and talk of it


paralel protection 21.Dec.2005 08:24


As many towns and communities have kept Walmarts from establishing business in their area so can other ports and cities keep like destructive businesses from polluting theirs. But then again, maybe what sheep need are crap jobs so that they can give what they make back to the man. Where do I sign up?

Now that's really bad 22.Dec.2005 13:40


Ship breaking is such a foully polluting and dangerous industry that it's been largely relegated to a portion of India where a supply of desperately poor, easily exploited workers is available and such environmental and safety regulations as exist are easily flouted.

The corporate agenda really *is* to turn the USA into a Third World shithole.

Oregon Banana Repeblic 28.Dec.2005 09:39

Tom Na

This shipbreaking means that the Oregon coast is considered a third world area suitable for world trash.

The Democratic power structure in Oregon is really aseep. The power brokers in Lincoln County, Oregon are corrupt.

Where are the environmental studies, the health effect studies to the coastal bays, the economic studies! Who is ready to protect the coastal ecology systems. The power broker won't do that. How many will die for this greed?

Shipbreaking 07.Jan.2006 22:05

Range Bayer


I am trying to add information about the proposed shipbreaking facility at Newport at  http://www.orednet.org/~rbayer/salvage [use only lower case letters]. I have much more to add. The Jan. 6 Oregonian had an article ( http://www.orednet.org/~rbayer/salvage [use only lower case letters]. I have much more to add. The Jan. 6 Oregonian had an article ( link to www.oregonlive.com) that Bay Bridge Enterprises LLC is also looking to purchase land at Coos Bay. It is not clear if Bay Bridge only wants 1 or 2 shipbreaking sites.

NO shipbreaking in Newport! 25.Jan.2006 09:35

a friend of yaquina bay

Just wanted to let you know that the port commissioners have decided against leasing port property on Yaquina Bay to Bay Bridge (the shipbreaking company)...community grassroots organizing can work!