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Portland Industry Days Event Focuses on Small Business, Columbia River Jetties

Col. Jose Aguilar, Portland District commander, pro-vided an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers history and mission in the Pacific Northwest. Aguilar said it’s important for Corps project teams to meet with business representatives and exchange information in an environment that balances both parties’ needs while respecting the fair contracting opportunities. (Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Col. Jose Aguilar, Portland District commander, pro-vided an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers history and mission in the Pacific Northwest. Aguilar said it’s important for Corps project teams to meet with business representatives and exchange information in an environment that balances both parties’ needs while respecting the fair contracting opportunities. (Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Portland Engineer District’s two-day Industry Days in April drew more than 200 attendees. The program on April 26 focused on small business contracting, and April 27 was devoted to the Mouth of the Columbia River (MCR) Jetty Major Rehabilitation Project.  

APRIL 26: SMALL BUSINESS
The Portland District’s Small Business Office looks for companies that have the services and products that the district needs to accomplish its missions.
Col. Jose Aguilar, Portland District Commander, opened the event by explaining the purpose of the Industry Days. 
 

“We understand businesses are exploring new technologies and innovative engineering methods,” he said. “It’s important for our project teams to meet with these businesses’ representatives and exchange information. That needs to happen in an environment that balances both parties’ needs, while respecting fair contracting opportunities.”

Tracy Wickham, Portland District chief of Contracting, described the Best Value environment and the Best Value source selection process, which permits tradeoffs among cost or price, and non-cost factors, allowing the govern-ment to award to other than the lowest priced offeror or other than the highest technically rated offeror. He highlighted the areas where contractors should pay particular attention, based on recent evaluations conducted by the Portland District.  

Carol McIntyre, Portland District deputy for Small Business, built on the best value presentation by explaining the difference between the subcontracting plan requirement, which is only required of large businesses, and the small business participation plan requirement, which is required of both small and large contractors and is a weighted factor in a best value trade off unrestricted procurement. This is a relatively new requirement, McIntyre said, who has spent the past three years educating contractors and the public about the small business participation plan requirement. 

Anna Peine, chief of Supply and Services Contracting, explained “Where to Find Opportunities & Strategies for Sources Sought,” and described the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Originally labeled the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, it was changed to NAICS in 1997, adding codes designating major industries.  

On the Federal Business Opportunities website – fedbizops.com – all government solicitations are listed, along with notices of intent to sole source and notices of subcontracting opportunities. The government uses this site to find companies, especially small and disadvantaged businesses, that can provide a product, service or other specialty.

Industry Days attendees represented businesses such as quarries, barging, dredg-ing, environmental and design consultants, suppliers, and construction. Corps con-tracting specialists and members of project teams shared information about how to effectively submit proposals for Corps projects and some upcoming project op-portunities. (Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Don Erickson, chief of the Portland District Program Management Branch, wrapped up the first day with a discussion of upcoming contracting opportunities, including those still in the planning stage as well as those that have been funded for this fiscal year. Two dredging contracts were included – a West Coast clamshell dredging contract and the Yaquina River clamshell dredging contract, both scheduled for the third quarter of FY2016 (April through June).

APRIL 27: MCR JETTY REHABILITATION
The second day concentrated on the jetty rehabilitation projects at the mouth of the Columbia River. The projects will require thousands of tons of jetty stone that must meet specific quality thresholds, and project team members spoke generally about their planning estimates and timelines.

Twenty-one contractors from 15 different companies, including stone placement, barging/dredging, and stone quarry companies, and one engineering contractor that is assisting the Corps with the hydraulic modeling and design, attended the event.

Corps technical and regional experts, as well as contracting specialists, were on hand to answer questions. 

Jerry Otto, MCR Jetty Rehabilitation project manager, said: “We’re still in the planning stages for these projects, so there aren’t a lot of de-tails we can provide at this time. We felt it was important to share what our current planning estimates are for stone quantities as well as what we typically require for the testing of stone quality (density, durability) and gradation (size of stones) as well as potential measurement and payment options (how we will measure progress and pay contractors). Giving the industry advance notice of requirements gives them the opportunity to increase their competitiveness,” he said.

“This venue allowed us to share unique project details that we do know, such as size and quality of stone we’ll need for these projects, that may require contractors to meet specific thresholds, such as material quantities or qualities; it also gives potential material sources a tentative timeline to conduct the necessary testing that would help the Corps evaluate the quality of the stone they produce to ensure it meets the design standard,” Otto said. 

“The attendees provided valuable feedback on stone gradation and measurement and payment,” he said.

Otto explained that though there is no solicitation at this time for the North and South Jetty projects, “we tentatively plan to advertise the North Jetty project in April-May 2017, and the South Jetty project in April-May 2019.”

THE COLUMBIA BAR JETTIES
The jetty system at the entrance to the Columbia River is in an area the Columbia River Bar pilots have termed “one of the most dangerous and challenging navigated stretches of water in the world.” When the river current, which ranges from four to seven knots, meets the offshore North Pacific currents, the surface can be filled with large standing waves, while under water, the river drops its sediment load, forming the Columbia River Bar. It is navigated through a dredged channel 2,640 feet wide at the west end, narrowing to 600 feet inside the jetties.  

The jetties were built on massive tidal shoals and designed to minimize channel maintenance, and to provide safe transit between the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River.  They consist of three rubble-mound jetties with a total length of 10.2 miles – the North and South jetties at the entrance, and Jetty A inside the river just downstream of Sand Island. Initial construction was in 1885 to 1939, and the North and South Jetties have been repaired a number of times, the most recent being in 2015 on the North Jetty and in 2006/2007 on the South Jetty.  Jetty A has been repaired only once since initial construction.  

Today, many areas of each structure are severely damaged due to the extreme waves of the Pacific Ocean interacting with the Columbia River. The structures are routinely exposed to ocean waves ranging from 10 to 20 feet high. The increased storm activity and the loss of sand shoal material upon which they are built have taken a toll on the structural integrity of the jetties.

Critical portions of the jetties could breach during a large storm event, and allow sand to be transported and deposited directly into the federal navigation channel. Such an event could shut down commercial navigation at the entrance to the river system, requiring expensive emergency repairs to the jetty and dredging to restore channel depth.

The Portland District issued the Mouth of the Columbia River (MCR) Major Rehabilitation Evaluation Report in August 2012. Work on the plan has progressed, and today there is a tentative schedule for the rock work on the North and South Jetties, and work has already begun on Jetty A.

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