Westport Mayor Rob Bearden is mostly unfazed by Grays Harbor Transit Authority’s exit from a group hoping to restart a passenger ferry between Westport and Ocean Shores.
“The project isn’t dead by all means, just because they bowed out,” he said. “We’re still going to continue pursuing this.”
On Nov. 13, County Commissioner Vickie Raines, who also is chairwoman of the Grays Harbor Transit Authority, sent a letter to Bearden and Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler citing lack of communication from the mayors and the absence of a northern landing site as reasons for pulling out of the project.
“Without receipt or communication from the Cities regarding the Collaborative Agreement and the issue of not having a viable landing site for the project in Ocean Shores, the (transit) Board of Directors have determined that it is in the best interests of the community for Transit to focus on sustaining their existing core transportation services,” the letter signed by Raines states.
“As such, please consider this communication as our formal notification that Grays Harbor Transportation Authority is withdrawing from the Ferry Inter-local Agreement. Should this discussion continue with the above items being addressed in the future, GHT would welcome the restarting of such a dialogue.”
The Quinault Indian Nation owns the Quinault Marina and RV Park, which has been discussed as a landing site in Ocean Shores. The Quinault Nation was asked for a comment on the ferry project but has not received a reply.
“We think we’re making a little bit of a headway with the tribe,” Bearden said.
Transit Authority General Manager Ken Mehin, who serves on Transit’s board, echoed Raines statements.
“We have so many other projects that we’re working on that need our immediate attention,” he said. “And the ferry project wasn’t moving at all. And there is no landing place in Ocean Shores that can be accessible.”
Dingler did not want to comment on the project ahead of a release from both her and Bearden.
Bearden is going to continue working toward getting a ferry.
“It’s been our project from the beginning,” he said. “We are not giving up on it just because they decided to pull out.”