Friday, November 6, 2015

Bellingham, Longview Ports Get New Commissioners

By Mark Edward Nero

Commercial fisherman Robert “Bobby” Briscoe has won the election to fill the District 3 seat on the Port of Bellingham Commission, according to the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office, while businessman Jeff Wilson managed to win 65 percent of the vote in the Nov. 3 race for the District 1 seat on the three-member Port of Longview Commission.

According to the results from the Nov. 2 election posted on the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office website, Briscoe captured 23,841 votes, or 55.4 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen, received 19,178 votes, or 44.5 percent.

Jensen lost the race despite being endorsed by outgoing District 3 commissioner Jim Jorgensen, who has served on the board since 2004.

The District 3 seat covers most of Whatcom County west of Guide Meridian, stretching from northwest Bellingham to the Canadian border.

The port’s commission is a non-partisan, three-member board whose members serve four-year terms. The commission makes decisions about publicly-owned port properties, including marinas, real estate, industrial workspace and a ferry terminal.

The commission is currently overseeing the extensive cleanup and redevelopment of the city’s industrial waterfront.

The election results are scheduled to be certified by the Auditor’s Office Nov. 24, and the term of outgoing Commissioner Jim Jorgensen expires Dec. 31.

Meanwhile in Longview, Wilson won in a landslide: he received 4,308 votes – 65 percent -- to 2,243 votes for his opponent, Tony Filippello. Wilson will replace incumbent Darold Dietz, who chose not to seek re-election.

The Longview commission has also undergone other changes in recent months: Commissioner Lou Johnson resigned last summer and was replaced by Doug Averett, the port’s former terminal operations director.