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The bright blue Helgren’s Sportsfishing building is a harbor landmark. Helgren’s has been is business for 39 years. Photo by Promise Yee
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Helgren’s Sportsfishing will face competition to renew its lease

OCEANSIDE — Helgren’s Sportsfishing, an icon of Oceanside Harbor for 39 years, will face competition to renew its lease. The Harbor District is opening up the lease of the approximately 2,300 square foot business area, and dock space to requests for proposals from interested companies.

Harbor Manager Paul Lawrence said the call for proposals is being done to assure business fairness.

“The most fair way is a request for proposals, so others have an opportunity to lease public resource space,” Lawrence said. “We expect great interest.”

Proposals must be submitted by May 31. A panel of harbor and city staff members will then score businesses based on financial capability, experience and business ideas. Lawrence said proposed lease terms, company’s boat fleet, range of services, and planned site improvements will be taken into consideration.

Top applicants will be called for an in-person interview, which will also be scored.

“We are simply, honestly going through a process and will stick to that,” Lawrence said.

Amber Duff, Helgren’s Sportsfishing landing manager, said the company wants to continue operations at the harbor.

“We have every intention of doing our very best to stay here,” Duff said. “We don’t plan to leave. We have a large community of supporters.”

The family-owned and operated business offers multi-day fishing trips, whale watching, and burials at sea. Duff said Helgren’s plans to add other viable services.

“We have a lot of ideas for the future,” Duff said. “We’re definitely fighting to keep the landing. We feel we’re an integral part of history here.”

The company has long supported local students and military with sea excursions and free fishing trips.

It also has repeat customers who recall catching their first fish on a Helgren’s boat, and now bring their grandchildren.

“We want to continue that,” Duff said. “It’s important to the Helgren’s family to service our community.”

Duff added there is some uncertainty in not knowing exactly what the Harbor District wants, but the company brings decades of local experience.

“I hope they are taking into consideration community needs, wants and what the community can financially support,” Duff said.

Helgren’s current lease expires in May 2017.