Portland Harbor: Behind the Scenes

The latest round of Portland Harbor: Behind the Scenes tours have been announced, and we hope you join us as we continue to explore the working waterfront of Portland. Remember: you must RSVP for all tours. Contact Brooke Berglund, Port tour and outreach manager, at 503.415.6532.

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The details on this spring’s series:

April 16, 2011; 10 a.m. – Noon
Goods to Market: How Port Facilities Work: Port of Portland Terminal 6
They’re big, they’re busy, and they’re mysterious: that’s the extent of what most people know about marine terminals like the Port’s Terminal 6. In an area typically closed to the public due to federal security regulations, you’ll tour among the shadows of towering 16-story cranes and giant multicolored containers stacked up like Legos. Learn how and why things like furniture, tires, footwear, apparel, and cars arrive from overseas, while agricultural goods, animal feed, paper, metal scrap, and wood are exported.
Minimum Age: 14

April 30, 2011; 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Port Across the River: Port of Vancouver

Up and down the Columbia River, maritime activity bustles with exports and imports of various commodities to and from international markets. The Port of Vancouver is no exception. With exports of steel scrap and imports of Subarus and wind energy cargo, this facility is sure to impress! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find out more about the port across the river!
Minimum Age: 18

May 7, 2011; 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10 a.m. (tours will last approximately 2 hours)
All About Potash: Portland Bulk Terminals

Step inside the largest wooden structure west of the Mississippi and learn all about the product that comes from mines in Saskatchewan, Canada and provides both agricultural and industrial uses for several international markets including Oceania, Asia, and Latin America. Owned by Canpotex, the world’s largest exporter of potash, the 100 acre facility will allow participants to get up close to the entire process from the unloading of the rail cars to the ship loading which processes 3,000 metric tons an hour. Take advantage of this unique opportunity open to the public to learn what the two different kinds of potash are used for and why this facility is essential for crops all over the world.
Minimum Age: 18

May 18, 2011; 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Wheat and So Much More: Columbia Grain

In 1868, just 23 years after a coin toss gave Portland its name, the first overseas shipment of wheat sailed from our harbor to Liverpool, England, establishing our city as an international gateway. Today, the Portland Harbor is the largest wheat export hub in the United States. This is thanks, in large part, to the activities at Columbia Grain, who handled over 4.3 million tons of grain last year. The company supplies superior quality western grain to service both U.S. domestic markets and export markets worldwide. Supply lines include the western region of the U.S., well known for its high quality wheat, feed grains and pulses. You’ll have the rare opportunity to visit this Terminal 5 facility, which is otherwise closed to the public.
Minimum Age: 18

June 08, 2011; 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Big Barge Builders: Zidell Marine Corporation
Come inside the world of big barges that are up to 90 feet in width and as long as a football field. These big steel containers haul such items as lumber, grain, chemicals, petroleum products, wood chips, sand, and gravel throughout the West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, and at ports on the Columbia and Snake River systems. Learn all about the history of the Zidell companies which have been around for nearly 100 years and employ over 200 people in the Pacific Northwest and learn why Zidell Marine Corporation is an important economic driver on the working waterfront.
Minimum Age: 14

June 18, 2011; 10 a.m. – Noon
All About Ships and Barges:  Vigor Industrial
“Wow!” “Holy cow!” “That is amazing!” These are some of the descriptions heard about the unique vessels seen coming and going at Vigor Industrial’s Portland Shipyard. Vigor Industrial owns several subcompanies, including Vigor Marine, Cascade General, and US Barge, that specialize in maritime construction and repair. See the eye-opening scale of their operations; hear about what they’re working on; and learn about the people who make a living there.
Minimum Age: 7 (accompanied by an adult)