It was a packed house for the March 20 lecture by Columbia River Bar Pilot Capt. Dan Jordan

Almost 400 community members took a deep dive into port industry topics this spring as the Port of Vancouver USA presented free lectures on the Columbia River Bar Pilots, the tug and barge industry, and malting operations at Great Western Malting. 

On March 20, Capt. Dan Jordan, a Columbia River Bar Pilot, described the sometimes-hazardous job of piloting large ships across the Columbia River Bar. He described the unique conditions at the mouth of the Columbia River that make it one of the most challenging navigated stretches of water in the world. The efforts of the bar pilots help ensure international access to Pacific Northwest ports, which move about 40 million tons of cargo valued at $23 billion each year.

On April 3, Rob Rich, Vice President Marine Services for Shaver Transportation, shared his 35 years of experience working in the tug and barge industry. Detailing how the Columbia-Snake-Willamette River System is our region’s trade lifeline, Rich shared how it efficiently transports grain, logs, sand, liquid bulks and other commodities to local and global destinations. His presentation included photos of tug boats through the decades and various barges that ply the river system.

Representatives from longtime port tenant Great Western Malting (GWM) took the stage April 10 to explain how the company steeps, germinates, dries and roasts barley, a critical ingredient in brewing and distilling. GWM President Mike O’Toole described how and where barley is grown and the facilities GWM operates in the U.S. and worldwide. Teri Fahrendorf manages GWM’s Malt Innovation Center along with Technician Amanda Kozina. They explained the malting process and shared a variety of delicious roasted barley samples with lecture attendees. 

The 2018 lecture series concludes in late May with a “State of the Port” presentation known throughout the community as Port Report. The port is finalizing details for that presentation and is already looking ahead to 2019 and another successful lecture series!