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Showing 1 - 20 of 23 results

Airports Owned by Washington's Public Port Districts

Of the nearly 140 public general-aviation airports in Washington state, 35 are operated by port districts, comprising 33 landing fields and two seaplane bases in 29 different port districts dispersed through 20 of Washington's 39 counties. Many were built in the 1930s and early 1940s as New Deal projects or military fields. A very few ports built their own airports from scratch; others took over existing facilities from local governments; some purchased and improved rudimentary landing strips built by private owners; and at least two (Quincy Municipal and Wilson Creek) lease airstrips from another governmental entity. The busiest port-owned airport, Seattle-Tacoma International, handles millions of passengers and thousands of tons of commercial cargo every year. Throughout the state smaller communities rely on local airfields, many port-owned, for critical services, including medical evacuation, firefighting, and agricultural support. The role of these local airports in supporting rural communities and their economies has become increasingly important as the old extractive industries fade away, railroad lines are abandoned, and tax revenues shrink. What were once considered by many to be land-consuming clubhouses for hobbyist fliers are today recognized as important, even essential, components of a community's economic and physical well-being. The movement to maintain and improve these critical facilities is one in which Washington's port districts continue to play a leading role.
File 9498: Full Text >

Barge Ports on the Columbia and Snake Rivers

For centuries, the Columbia River has been at the center of trade and transportation in the Pacific Northwest. Before the nineteenth century, trade focused on fishing and hunting, and travel was constrained by the river's fast waters and falls. Following the arrival of European Americans during the nineteenth century, trade began to shift toward agriculture and mining, and efforts were made to improve transportation on and alongside the Columbia. Between the 1930s and 1970s, a convergence of interests in navigation, irrigation, and power led to the construction of a series of dams and locks that transformed the Columbia and its largest tributary, the Snake River, into a major waterway. Port districts and other government and private entities developed an infrastructure and transportation system that now supports the movement of some 50 million tons of cargo by barge between Lewiston, Idaho, and the Pacific Ocean.
File 9659: Full Text >

Deep-draft Ports of Washington

Of Washington's 75 public port districts, only 11 -- the ports of Seattle, Grays Harbor, Vancouver, Everett, Tacoma, Bellingham, Kalama, Longview, Olympia, Port Angeles, and Anacortes -- have deep-draft facilities capable of accommodating large ocean-going freight and passenger vessels. All 11 were created in a 15-year period following the 1911 passage of the Port District Act. International trade through these ports, initially dominated by forest products exports, has evolved to encompass a diverse range of goods and materials, with imports far outstripping exports in dollar value. Containerization, which came into widespread use in the early 1960s, revolutionized port operations and brought fundamental change to labor/management relations. Today (2010) Washington's marine terminals move approximately 7 percent of all U.S. exports and 6 percent of all imports and provide tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Through a century of change and progress, Washington's deep-draft ports have remained the primary portals through which Washington connects to the world economy.
File 9529: Full Text >

Port of Longview

The Port of Longview is located in Cowlitz County on the Columbia River, 66 miles from the Pacific Ocean in southwest Washington state. It is the first full-service port with strategic intermodal connections on the shipping channel. The Port district encompasses the northwest part of Cowlitz County, stretching from just north of Kalama to Lewis County. Originally established as the Port of Kelso in 1921, the name was officially changed in 1929, by a vote of the people, to the Port of Longview. Today (2008) its waterfront facilities include eight full-service marine terminals and two large industrial parks with direct access to rail lines and Interstate 5. From its founding, the Port of Longview has contributed greatly to the economy of the region and state by providing jobs and by promoting trade and investments.
File 8559: Full Text >

Port of Seattle Central Waterfront Tour

A guided photographic tour of Seattle's downtown waterfront. Curated by Paul Dorpat, written by Walt Crowley, designed by Chris Goodman.
File 7056: Full Text >

Port of Seattle, Founding of

The creation of the Port of Seattle on September 5, 1911, was the culmination of a long struggle for control of Seattle's waterfront and harbor, a struggle whose roots stretched all the way back to the city's founding 60 years earlier. Seattle had grown from a tiny frontier settlement to a bustling trade center due in large part to the transcontinental rail lines and transoceanic water routes that met along its central waterfront. But the railroad corporations that helped spur Seattle's growth also dominated its waterfront, physically and economically. Their tangle of tracks and trains along the aptly named Railroad Avenue separated the city from its harbor. The rail companies also owned most of the docks and warehouses, so they exercised a stranglehold over Seattle's trade. With competing firms each pursuing its own self-interest, coordinated harbor improvements were impossible to achieve. For more than 20 years, reformers sought to end the railroad stranglehold, and modernize and rationalize Seattle's harbor, by establishing publicly owned and operated port facilities.
File 1003: Full Text >

Port of Tacoma -- A Slideshow

The Port of Tacoma is a publicly owned and managed port district established by Pierce County voters in 1918. Today it is a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest. Most of the maritime commerce between Alaska and the lower 48 states also passes through Tacoma. A suite of factors that the Port calls the "Tacoma Advantage" have contributed to its success. The advantages begin with the port's location on the Tacoma tideflats along the deep waters of Commencement Bay. The Port's acreage has allowed it to create efficient intermodal transportation connections between ship and road or rail, often right on the dock. Cooperation between Port management and union longshore workers has provided an additional advantage, helping bring many of the world's largest container lines to Tacoma. This slideshow was written and curated by Kit Oldham and sponsored by the Port of Tacoma.
File 8743: Full Text >

Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 1

The Port of Tacoma is a public municipal corporation governed by five elected Port Commissioners. Pierce County voters created the Port in 1918 after the 1911 state legislature authorized publicly owned and managed port districts. Ninety years later, the Port of Tacoma is a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest. The vast majority of trade between Alaska and the lower 48 states also passes through Tacoma. Part 1 of this Thumbnail History of the Port traces its development from Tacoma's early maritime commerce through World War II. Until 1918, Tacoma's waterfront was dominated by private entrepeneurs and corporations, especially the Northern Pacific railroad. After longshore workers, Tacoma business leaders, Pierce County farmers, and others united to establish the public port, its Commissioners built two piers that handled an increasing volume of trade from around the world, a cold storage plant, and a grain elevator. The Depression slowed growth, but World War II brought new activity and increased mechanization to port docks.
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Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 2

The Port of Tacoma is a publicly owned and managed port district established by Pierce County voters in 1918. Today it is a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest. Most of the maritime commerce between Alaska and the lower 48 states also passes through Tacoma. Part 2 of this three-part Thumbnail History of the Port covers its development from the aftermath of World War II through its emergence as a growing container port in the 1970s.
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Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 3

In the 90 years since it was established by the citizens of Pierce County as a publicly owned port, the Port of Tacoma has become a major player in world trade. It serves as a gateway port between Asian producers and consumer markets across the United States and as an export outlet for products from the Northwest and around the country. A suite of factors that the Port calls the "Tacoma Advantage" have contributed to its success. The advantages begin with the Port's location on the Tacoma tideflats along the deep waters of Commencement Bay: the Port's waterways are 51 feet deep at low water and the tideflats continue to provide ample room for development. The Port's acreage has allowed it to create efficient intermodal transportation connections between ship and road or rail, often right on the dock. Cooperation between Port management and union longshore workers has provided an additional advantage, helping bring many of the world's largest container lines to Tacoma. Part 3 of this three-part Thumbnail History of the Port traces its development from 1981, when a pioneering dockside railyard fueled its rapid rise in port rankings, through the present.
File 8668: Full Text >

Public Port Districts and Access to the Waterfront

Washington's public ports tend to be associated more with cranes and loading docks than with parks and promenades, but providing public access to the waterfront has been a part of the ports' mission from the very beginning. The 1911 legislation that allowed local voters to create port districts was an effort to wrest control of the state's harbors from railroads and other private interests and return it to the public. Port districts carried out this function in early years in part by building marinas, boat ramps, and docks for "mosquito fleet" steamers and, later, ferries. Subsequent legislation gave ports an even stronger mandate to open waterfronts to the public, to the point that now virtually every development project undertaken by ports with any kind of shoreline includes some element that links people to water.
File 9627: Full Text >

Public Port Districts and the Environment

Throughout much of the twentieth century, Washington state's public port districts pursued a single mission: economic development. They dredged out waterways, filled in wetlands, built infrastructure, and actively courted industries and the jobs they could bring to local communities. Smokestacks were signs of progress; unfilled wetlands were resources going to waste. Beginning in the 1970s, a series of new laws and regulations forced the ports to consider the costs as well as the benefits of unfettered growth. The transition was not an easy one, but eventually port districts began to take on leadership roles in environmental cleanup and restoration, including cleaning up properties they themselves had polluted. Today, many Ports tout their stewardship of the environment almost as much as their contributions to the economy.
File 9609: Full Text >

Public Port Districts in Washington: Origins

Washington has 75 public port districts, more than any other state. Each is an independent government body, run by commissioners elected by local voters. They operate major marine terminals and small local docks and marinas; international airports and general aviation fields; parks and recreation areas; and industrial and business parks. The state's first port districts were established in 1911, the year that the Legislature authorized their formation and created the basic structure that continues to guide port districts in the twenty-first century. Public ports are now an accepted part of the state's government and economic life, but they were radical and controversial when first formed. This essay describes the movement for public ports in Washington, which was part of the broader Progressive movement that achieved an array of reforms in the early 1900s, and the factors leading to the formation and acceptance of Washington's unique system of publicly owned and locally controlled harbor facilities and other key infrastructure.
File 9614: Full Text >

Public Port Districts: Promoting Economic Development

Washington's public port districts play a critical role in the state's economy by stimulating business development and job creation that private companies cannot or do not undertake on their own. Run by commissioners elected by local voters, the state's public ports are the only government agencies in Washington whose primary purpose is to promote economic development, and they have authority that other agencies lack to engage in market-oriented business ventures. Washington public ports have used their combination of government powers and entrepreneurial orientation -- dubbed "public enterprise" (Olson) -- to create not just marine cargo terminals and airports but a whole range of industrial and commercial development, inland as well as on the waterfront. Many ports operate industrial areas that bring businesses to their districts. Other development efforts include running a rail line that local companies depend on, building cruise ship terminals, operating a wastewater treatment plant for local food processors, helping wire a rural area for broadband internet, and even providing "incubator buildings" for start-up wineries.
File 9624: Full Text >

Sea-Tac International Airport: Part 1 -- Founding

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or Sea-Tac as it commonly called, was developed as a direct response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Military needs limited civilian access to existing airports such as Seattle's Boeing Field and Tacoma's McChord Field, and the federal Civilian Aviation Authority sought a local government to undertake development of a new regional airport. The Port of Seattle accepted the challenge on March 2, 1942. After rejecting creation of a seaplane base on Lake Sammamish, the Port chose Bow Lake in southwest King County for the new airfield. Initial construction was completed in October 1944, but full civilian operation did not commence until dedication of a modern terminal building on July 9, 1949.
File 1004: Full Text >

Sea-Tac International Airport: Part 2 -- From Props to Jets (1950-1970)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport experienced dramatic growth between 1950 and 1970 as a result of new aircraft technologies, the increasing popularity and affordability of air travel, and the Puget Sound region's expanding economy and population. The advent of passenger jets in the late 1950s placed a strain on Sea-Tac's runways and facilities and led to a continuing series of improvements in response to ever-faster and bigger aircraft.
File 4232: Full Text >

Sea-Tac International Airport: Part 3 -- Boeing Bust to Deregulation (1970s)

The Port of Seattle built Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during World War II to relieve pressure on existing airports such as Seattle's Boeing Field. Following the war, Sea-Tac quickly established itself as the region's aviation hub, but it had to undertake major improvements to accommodate newer jet aircraft and steadily increasing numbers of passengers. During the early 1970s, the post-war climb in air travel suddenly stalled, triggering a national aerospace recession known locally as the Boeing Bust. Sea-Tac traffic ultimately recovered, leading the Port in the mid-1970s to pioneer the nation's most ambitious noise abatement program. Federal deregulation of airlines followed in 1978, sparking a revolution in air service and posing new challenges for the airport.
File 4233: Full Text >

Sea-Tac International Airport: Part 4 -- Ascent and Dissent (1980-2008)

Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport and its owner, the Port of Seattle, faced major challenges during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Foremost, their own successful investments and management and the Puget Sound's growing prominence as a business and cultural center on the Pacific Rim, fueled steady growth in the numbers of aircraft, passengers, and cargo shipments passing through the airport. With these increases, the impacts of noise on airport neighbors and along flight paths became complex and expensive problems. While hailed as a national leader in its noise-mitigation efforts, Sea-Tac also faced stiffening criticism from neighboring residents, cities, and institutions, which set the stage for continuing battles over its plan to add a third runway to maintain capacity in the twenty-first century. Then came the attacks of September 11, 2001, and an entirely new set of challenges and obligations.
File 4234: Full Text >

Sea-Tac International Airport: Third Runway Project

The development of a third "dependent" runway at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport, the state's largest airport, was one of the largest and most sensitive public works projects in regional history. The need for an additional runway for bad-weather operations was first recognized in 1988 when the Port of Seattle (which owns and operates the airport), the Federal Aviation Administration, and regional planners predicted that the airport could reach its maximum efficient capacity as early as 2000. The Puget Sound Regional Council and Port of Seattle launched a "Flight Plan" study in 1989 to determine how best to meet regional airport needs, and the Washington State Air Transportation Commission later examined the problem from a statewide perspective. After a public involvement program of unprecedented scale, regional planners ultimately concluded that development of a new regional airport and other alternatives were infeasible and that the addition of a third runway at Sea-Tac was the only viable solution to meeting regional air service needs. The Port formally launched the project in 1992, but encountered substantial opposition from cities and communities neighboring the airport, which won a two-year state moratorium on the runway and challenged necessary environmental permits. As a result, the runway's completion date slipped from 2000 to 2008, and its cost rose from a preliminary estimate of $217 million to more than $1 billion. It opened on November 20, 2008.
File 4211: Full Text >

Washington Public Port Districts -- Part 1

In 1911, the Washington Legislature, reacting against private railroad companies' domination of docks and harbors that were critical to the trade-dependent state's economy, authorized local voters to create publicly owned and managed port districts. Since then, Washington public ports have spurred economic growth by enabling local communities to acquire and manage resources that promote trade and commerce. As the benefits of publicly owned harbor improvements became apparent, the powers of port districts were expanded to encompass other areas, including managing airports and stand-alone industrial and commercial development. Today there are 75 port districts operating in 33 of the state's 39 counties, ranging from 11 deepwater shipping ports that fit the classic definition of "port" to small local port districts that operate a single marina, small airfield, or business park. Part 1 of this two-part essay describes how and why Washington's unique system of public port districts was created and covers the history of the state's ports through World War II.
File 9494: Full Text >

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Showing 1 - 20 of 107 results

Ship Isabel docks at Tacoma with first tea cargo from Asia bound for East Coast via railroad on August 16, 1885.

On August 16, 1885, the Isabel docks at Tacoma with the first cargo of tea from Asia bound for the East Coast via railroad. The Northern Pacific had gathered 200 cars at the Tacoma docks ready to load 2,000 tons of tea. The train sets out for the East Coast as an express, intending to reach New York in just over one week (the trip takes a month). Before this, the majority of ships bearing tea cargo traveled around Asia to the Suez Canal and then across the Atlantic to the United States or around Cape Horn to the East Coast. This required extra time, and the British charged fees for passage through the Suez Canal, but either route was still less expensive than shipping via railroad across North America. In 1885 the Northern Pacific lowered its rates in a bid to compete with the ocean-going routes of the tea trade. Tacoma is well-placed to benefit from the plan because it is the terminus of the Northern Pacific and is relatively close to Asian ports.
File 8752: Full Text >

Schooner Oscar and Hattie arrives at the port of Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of halibut, inaugurating the commercial Pacific halibut fishery, on September 20, 1888.

On September 20, 1888, the schooner Oscar and Hattie reaches the port of Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of halibut on ice. The iced halibut is shipped from Tacoma to Boston on the Northern Pacific's transcontinental rail line, marking the beginning of commercial halibut fishing in the Pacific Northwest. With North Atlantic halibut stocks depleted, the Oscar and Hattie is one of three halibut schooners from Gloucester, Massachusetts, sent around Cape Horn to fish the rich halibut grounds on Flattery Bank off the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. From this three-vessel beginning in 1888, the Pacific halibut fleet will grow rapidly, resulting in a rapid decline in Pacific halibut stocks. The halibut industry will respond by pushing for a United States-Canada treaty that leads to creation of the International Pacific Halibut Commission to regulate and restore the Pacific halibut fishery, which is currently (2008) among the healthiest fisheries in the world.
File 8745: Full Text >

Harbor Island, at the time the world's largest artificial island, is completed in 1909.

In 1909, the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Co. finishes building Harbor Island with dredge spoils from the Duwamish River and soil dug and sluiced from Beacon Hill in the Jackson Street and Dearborn Street regrades. It is the largest artificial island in the world at approximately 350 acres. Harbor Island will lose this distinction in 1938 to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, but will increase in size and surpass Treasure Island once again in 1967. Today, at least two artificial islands are larger. (In the Port of Kobe, Japan, Port Island, completed in 1981, is 1,064 acres, and Rokko Island, completed in 1992, is 1,432 acres.)
File 3631: Full Text >

Governor Marion Hay signs Port District Act, which authorizes creation of public ports to develop and operate harbors, on March 14, 1911.

On March 14, 1911, Governor Marion E. Hay (1865-1933) signs legislation authorizing the establishment of public port districts. The Port District Act, which allows citizens to end private monopoly control of urban harbors, is a victory for progressive and populist reformers then at the height of their influence in Washington. Voters in Seattle and Grays Harbor will create the first two port districts later that year and many more will be established around the state in succeeding years.
File 7241: Full Text >

King County voters create Port of Seattle on September 5, 1911.

On September 5, 1911, a long struggle for control of Seattle's central waterfront climaxes when King County voters approve formation of the Port of Seattle and elect the Port's first three Commissioners: General Hiram Chittenden (1858-1917), Robert Bridges (1861-1921), and Charles Remsberg. The election is a high water mark for the local Progressive Movement, which advocates public control of essential facilities and utilities, and a pivotal defeat for the railroads that had dominated Seattle's harbor since 1874 thanks to imprudent municipal concessions.
File 1002: Full Text >

Port of Seattle commissioners meet for the first time on September 12, 1911.

On September 12, 1911, one week after King County voters created the Port of Seattle and elected them, Seattle's port commissioners meet for the first time. Retired Army Corps of Engineers General Hiram M. Chittenden (1858-1917), radical labor organizer Robert Bridges (1861-1921), and Fremont banker Charles E. Remsberg begin the massive task of planning and developing Seattle's first publicly owned and operated port facilities. These will include Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay and the huge piers that now compose Terminal 91 at Smith Cove, both still integral components of Seattle's waterfront, as well as the original Bell Street Pier and the Port's first docks on the Duwamish Waterway. Over the next century, the Port of Seattle will build on these initial efforts as it transforms Elliott Bay into one of the world's leading container ports, builds and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and develops the fishing fleet terminal, marinas, cruise ship berths, and other facilities that collectively make it a major contributor to regional economic growth.
File 9726: Full Text >

Port of Grays Harbor becomes Washington's second public port on December 12, 1911.

On December 12, 1911, voters in what is then Chehalis County (the Legislature will change the name to Grays Harbor County in 1915) overwhelmingly approve creation of the Port of Grays Harbor. The Port is the second in the state (after the Port of Seattle) to be created following passage of the Port District Act earlier in 1911. Over the next 11 years, the Grays Harbor port commissioners will work to establish a public port on the harbor, acquire land, develop a comprehensive plan, and overcome opposition to port development. Pier 1, the Port's first facility, will open in 1922 on the border between Aberdeen and Hoquiam, the county's two largest towns. The port commission will go on to develop more docks, establish Industrial Development Districts, dredge a deeper channel in the inner harbor to allow for larger ships, operate an airport and a marina, and collaborate on environmental rehabilitation projects. Though logs, lumber, and other forest products will dominate the Port's business, throughout its history it will work to diversify its business as a means to developing the region's economy.
File 9390: Full Text >

Tacoma unveils the Bogue Plan for Tacoma Harbor on January 29, 1912.

On January 29, 1912, the Tacoma Commercial Club & Chamber of Commerce unveils a plan for the Tacoma harbor prepared by engineer Virgil G. Bogue (1846-1916). The plan lays out a development plan for the entire waterfront. In 1912, it has become glaringly obvious that a plan is needed to develop the part of the waterfront not controlled by the Northern Pacific Railroad, primarily the area east of the Puyallup River. Numerous private landowners, many of whom managed to wrest the land away from Puyallup tribal landowners in the late 1890s, have filed plats for their parcels in recent years, creating a disorganized and ineffective ad hoc development plan. Bogue's plan proposes the development of three waterways, an industrial district, and a motor boat and yacht harbor, along with the creation of a port-improvement district, through which the plan can be carried out and landowners taxed for their portion of the estimated $3.8 million cost. Local landowners reject the plan because they perceive that some individual landowners will benefit more than others. The harbor will continue to develop according to the abilities and plans of individuals and businesses until 1918, when the public Port of Tacoma is formed.
File 8751: Full Text >

Voters approve creation of Port of Vancouver on April 6, 1912.

On April 6, 1912, the voters of Vancouver by a large margin give the go-ahead for the establishment of a port district, a new type of municipal corporation that had been authorized by the Washington State Legislature just over a year earlier. The three-member port commission will prepare a comprehensive scheme for port's development in 1913, but for the next five years it is largely inactive due to a lack of resources. The United State's entry into World War I in 1917 creates a critical need for new ships, and in January 1918, Vancouver voters approve the City's purchase of 52 acres of mostly swampland along the Columbia River for the development of a shipyard. The land is turned over to the Port of Vancouver, which fills the swampy tract and leases it to Portland entrepreneur Guy M. Standifer. Standifer's company, which already runs a yard for building wooden vessels farther upstream, will establish a facility at the new site for the construction steel ships to support the war effort. The two shipyards will operate for barely three years, but the properties that house them will become the core holdings of the young Port of Vancouver. Shipbuilding will return in force during World War II with the Kaiser Shipyard, and in the years following that war the Port of Vancouver will continue to grow, providing thousands of jobs and adding millions of dollars to the local economy. In later years the port authority will develop extensive new facilities and become one of the leading ports on the West Coast. It will also tackle environmental problems inherited from industries that operated on port land, and work to restore the health of Vancouver Lake. Today the port district encompasses an area of 111 square miles, provides facilities for both regional and international trade, and is a major contributor to the economic life of the region and the state.
File 9410: Full Text >

Bremerton residents create a public port district on October 3, 1913.

On October 3, 1913, voters approve creation of the Port of Bremerton. The new port is the fourth public port district formed in Washington following passage of the Port District Act of 1911, and the first in Kitsap County (which will eventually form more port districts than any other county in the state). The Port is formed in response to a lawsuit by the Bremer family, heirs of the city's founder, that challenges the new municipal wharf the city built to end the Bremers' wharf monopoly. After taking over the municipal wharf and successfully resolving the dispute with the Bremers, the Port will remain largely inactive for 30 years. After re-emerging in the 1940s, the Port will expand to cover most of South Kitsap County, acquire and enlarge Kitsap County Airport (later renamed Bremerton National Airport), and develop an industrial park near the airport. The Port will also develop successful marinas in Port Orchard and Bremerton and work with other agencies to revitalize Bremerton's waterfront.
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Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal is dedicated on January 10, 1914.

On January 10, 1914, the Port of Seattle's new fishing fleet dock on Salmon Bay is dedicated in an elaborate celebration featuring band performances, singing, lunch, speeches, and a parade of fishing boats. The facility, which will soon become known as Fishermen's Terminal, is one of the first projects for the Port, which was formed less than three years earlier. The Port developed the new, central home for the region's scattered fishing fleet at the request of the Puget Sound Purse Seine Fishermen's Association, who sought adequate storage and repair facilities at reasonable rates. When dedicated, the terminal includes more than 1,800 feet of moorage accommodating 100 boats, a two-story warehouse for nets and equipment, storage ways, and a marine railway. It will expand over the years, becoming home to the North Pacific Fishing Fleet and a key component of the commercial fishing industry that, even after declines, continues in 2012 to be an important part of the regional economy.
File 10020: Full Text >

Voters create Port of Kennewick on March 6, 1915 to provide docks for Columbia River steamboats.

On March 6, 1915, voters create Port of Kennewick to provide docks for Columbia River steamboats. The vote passes by a majority of 185 votes and creates a five-square-mile taxing district, which includes the town of Kennewick and "all property lying a mile in each direction" ("Kennewick Port Created"). The original purpose is to improve steamboat docks at the town's harbor and to build and maintain public warehouses. Eventually the Port of Kennewick will grow into a large and diversified entity that will encompass a marina, an airport, shipbuilding facilities, food-processing plants, chemical plants, and many industrial and commercial development sites. It will become a driving force in the regional economy.
File 9414: Full Text >

Port of Everett is created by a special election held July 13, 1918.

On July 13, 1918, citizens form the Port of Everett in hopes of acquiring World War I wartime industry. A. D. McAdam, C. W. Miley, and Albert Burke are elected as the first port commissioners. Director General of the U.S. Emergency Fleet Charles Schwab visits Everett and promises to build Pacific Coast shipyards and keep them busy. The November 11, 1918, Armistice, however, quickly ends shipbuilding plans. Everett's earliest shoreline had included a diversity of industries but by the 1920s, the lumber and shingle trade will dominate the economy, giving the city its nickname "Mill Town." Commercial fishing will become an important part of the city's commerce in the 1930s and the Port will work to accommodate the growing fleet. During World War II the Port will build wartime ships and then cope with a return to civilian economy. With the lumber/shingle trade in decline by the 1960s, Everett will embrace the arrival of the Boeing Company and other new industries. Today the deep-draft Port of Everett has the largest marina on the West Coast and handles a variety of cargoes, manages recreational marinas, and owns and manages development projects.
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Pierce County voters create Port of Tacoma on November 5, 1918.

On November 5, 1918, voters in Pierce County create a municipally owned Port of Tacoma. The vote -- 15,054 in favor, 3,429 against - passes by a 5 to 1 margin. Until the vote, the Tacoma waterfront was privately owned by railroads (especially the Milwaukee Road) and by such firms as Todd Shipyards and the St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber Co. Two municipally owned docks were the only public property on the extensive waterfront of Commencement Bay.
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Development plan for Port of Tacoma is approved on May 31, 1919.

On May 31, 1919, Pierce County voters approve the "comprehensive scheme" of development prepared for the newly formed Port of Tacoma by consulting engineer Frank J. Walsh. The Port, which was created in a November 1918 vote, will inaugurate shipping at its first pier on March 25, 1921. Over the next nine decades, the Port of Tacoma will become a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest, and handling most of the maritime commerce between Alaska and the lower 48 states. With ample room to expand on the tideflats fronting the deep waters of Commencement Bay, the Port will develop multiple waterways accommodating the largest ocean-going cargo ships and will create efficient intermodal transportation connections between ships and road or rail, often right on the dock.
File 9759: Full Text >

Port of Eglon purchases the community's dock on August 30, 1919.

A $1 bill of sale dated August 30, 1919, transfers the dock that is the centerpiece and lifeline of the small north Kitsap County community of Eglon from the private Community Dock Company to the newly formed Port of Eglon. The new public port district provides a means to fund and organize maintenance of the dock, which is the calling point for the Mosquito Fleet steamships that are Eglon's primary link to the rest of the world until the county highway from Kingston, five miles south, arrives in 1924. The Port's dock will be a community focal point through the early 1930s but disappear by the 1940s as cars and car ferries supplant the passenger boats. The Port of Eglon will remain, but not so much to promote growth and development -- the primary goal of most public ports -- as to preserve the community's beach and its rural serenity. From the 1940s through the present, the Port maintains a 100-foot stretch of beach, a boat launch, a picnic area, and a parking lot.
File 9749: Full Text >

A group of Kalama residents meets to organize Port of Kalama on December 22, 1919.

On Monday, December 22, 1919, a group of Kalama residents meets at the Kalama Business Men's Club to discuss the formation of a port district. Kalama is located in Cowlitz County in Southwestern Washington, north of Vancouver. After circulating petitions and holding a hearing, Port of Kalama will be formed in an election held on March 17, 1920. Kalama citizens will elect Hite Imus, J. G. Gruver, and F. L. Jenkins as commissioners. The Port of Kalama boasts access to the Columbia River, a railway, and later (1950s), Interstate 5. In the 1920s, the Port will lease property to tie mills, shingle mills, and other timber operators. In the 1960s, it will become a focal point for the area's wheat industry, leasing a new grain terminal to North Pacific Grain Growers Inc. The Port will also provide the site for a phenol plant for Dow Chemical. In the 1980s, the Port will build its second grain terminal, bringing Peavey Grain Company to Kalama. In 2009, the Port of Kalama's more than 20 industrial tenants will employ some 900 people.
File 9736: Full Text >

Voters on December 27, 1919, approve Port of Kingston's plan to purchase and improve a wharf on Appletree Cove.

On December 27, 1919, voters approve the Port of Kingston's plan to purchase a wharf on Appletree Cove and improve it for handling freight and passengers. Appletree Cove is on Puget Sound, on the south side of the Kitsap County town of Kingston. The Port of Kingston was formed in July 1919 to provide a public agency to maintain a landing dock for Mosquito Fleet steamers that provide transportation around Puget Sound. It needed voter approval of its comprehensive port development plan before beginning any improvement projects. In 1951 the state highway department will take over Puget Sound ferry operations and lease Port land for its terminal. The Port will then shift its efforts to developing a protected harbor and marina facilities. In 1966 the Army Corps of Engineers will construct a breakwater and basin and the Port will build a 274-slip marina, later expanded to include a small-boat facility and a guest dock. In 1997 the Port will purchase North Beach, just north of the ferry terminal and make it accessible for public use. In 2010 the Port will begin a twice-daily passenger ferry service between Kingston and downtown Seattle.
File 9427: Full Text >

Port of Silverdale is created by special election on April 13, 1920.

On April 13, 1920, the Port of Silverdale is formed by a citizen vote in a special election. Silverdale is an unincorporated community in Kitsap County located on the northern tip of the Dyes Inlet on the Kitsap Peninsula. The port will serve boats and will ease the transportation of people and goods to and from Silverdale. The port will lie dormant from 1950 until 1965, but it will revive and provide Old Town Silverdale with a beautiful park, a boat launch, fixed pier, and transient boat moorage floating docks. In the twenty-first century, the port will focus on economic development of Old Town Silverdale.
File 9628: Full Text >

Port of Brownsville is created by an election held on June 1, 1920.

On June 1, 1920, the Port of Brownsville is established. Brownsville is located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Western Washington, about five miles north of Bremerton. In its early decades the Port will mainly serve the mosquito fleet and other boats. It will begin to expand in the 1960s, and this expansion will continue into the twenty-first century, but its goals today (2010) remain as they were in 1920: to provide public recreational opportunities and access to the water.
File 9434: Full Text >

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