36 Port of Long Beach businesses forced to relocate due to rail project

Josh Haskell Image
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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Now that the Long Beach harbor commission approved an $820-million railyard project, at least 36 businesses are being forced to relocate to make room for the project.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- For 45 years, Larry Weber's aerospace manufacturing company has called a long beach warehouse home.

But, with the harbor commission's approval of an $820-million railyard project, his family business will be forced to relocate.

"I really don't think the city really cares about us. As long as they can get their project going...I'm just trying to run my business," Weber said.

His company, Spun Products Inc., was founded by his father, and he now runs it with his two sons. Weber paid off his building and owes $2,000 a year in property taxes.

"If I go somewhere else, I'm not going to find that anywhere so I'm going to have a mortgage. My property taxes are going to be higher. I've been able to operate because I paid my building off. If we're slow, I can still make payroll," he said.

Thirty-six businesses sit in the 171-acre project area. The project is supposed to make the port more efficient. Another goal of the project is to clean up the air around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Backers of the plan said containers going directly from a ship to a train, cutting out truck transportation in between, will be better for the environment.

"We're hopeful that we can do the right things, be good neighbors, set up a process that is fair and equitable for everybody, as well as balancing what we need to do to move this project forward," said Richard Cameron, managing director of Planning and Environmental Affairs for the Port of Long Beach.

The port plans to engage the businesses and help them relocate. But Roy Hetherington's shipping repair company, Oceanwide Repair, depends on being close to the port.

"The obvious area for us to move is north of Anaheim Street and that area is being deemed as a pot growing marijuana area that's zoned so property prices over the road have gone up exponentially since the law changed. It will be very expensive just to move now," Hetherington said.