Port San Luis Harbor District commissioner retires after 24 years

Friends and colleagues praised Carolyn Moffatt this week as a hardworking public servant who did her homework and helped guide the Port San Luis Harbor District for nearly a quarter of a century.

Moffatt of Arroyo Grande retired Tuesday after serving 24 years on the harbor district’s Board of Commissioners. During her tenure, she guided the district through dramatic changes in commercial fishing, a disruptive oil spill cleanup in Avila Beach and the restoration of the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse.

“The harbor continues to evolve into a better facility,” she said.

The harbor district owns and manages the port and landing facilities as well as the beaches, piers and public areas of Avila Beach. Moffatt has served continuously on its board since 1988.

She received letters of commendation Tuesday from the harbor commission, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, and County Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes the harbor.

In an interview, Moffatt said she decided not to seek a seventh term on the commission because she can’t give anything less than 100 percent to any undertaking. At age 70, she is looking forward to slowing down and spending more time with her husband, Floyd.

Several speakers at Moffatt’s retirement ceremony cited her work spearheading the restoration of the Point San Luis Lighthouse. The 30-acre light station is more than a century old but had fallen into disrepair when the harbor district obtained the property in 1992.

Moffatt persuaded a group of local craftsmen and history buffs to take on the task of restoring the facility and the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers was formed in 1995. Since then, the Keepers have put in more than 65,000 hours restoring the station.

“Carolyn Moffatt is the epitome of what it means to be a citizen,” said Bob Vessely, a local engineer who has been active in the restoration.

Stew Jenkins, president of the Lighthouse Keepers, thanked Moffatt for her efforts cleaning up Avila Beach, which is one of the most popular beaches in the county. Leaking underground oil pipes left the beach and much of the town contaminated and starting in 1998 Unocal had to excavate the beach and much of downtown to clean it up.

Commission President Brian Kreowski announced that a tree will be planted at the lighthouse in Moffatt’s name with a plaque honoring her work.

Fighting back tears, Moffatt thanked all those who have worked with her.

“I’ve done all that I’ve done because I’ve loved it,” she said.

Also recognized Tuesday was 25-year district employee Steve Suisse and Commissioner Mary Matakovich who was appointed in February but did not get elected to a full four-year term.