Friday, December 6, 2019

Coast Guard Cities

By Karen Robes Meeks

The cities of Cordova, Alaska, and Westport, Washington have been designated by US Coast Guard as Coast Guard Cities through 2024.

The designation reflects a community’s close relationship with the agency. The two municipalities, which plan to celebrate the designation early next year, are among 28 others with the special title. Cities may retain the designation for five years before having to recertify for the status.

Cordova – population 2,205 people – is situated in Prince William Sound in Coast Guard District 17 and is the region’s biggest commercial fishing port. The agency has been in the Alaskan city since 1937 with the Coast Guard Cutters Sorrel, Sweetbrier, Sycamore and Fir. Aviation support facility Air Station Kodiak has been based in Cordova since 1980.

Located in Coast Guard District 13, Westport, Wash., has had a relationship with the agency since 1897 when the US Lifesaving Service and the US Lighthouse Establishment were present to support the area’s lumber shipping and fishing industries.

Sea Level Defense

By Karen Robes Meeks

This week, leaders from the Port of Redwood City and other California ports gathered for the “Strategies for Storms, Flooding and Sea Level Defense” conference in Oakland, Calif.

Port Executive Director Kristine A. Zortman shared the port’s efforts to proactively address issues related to higher sea levels, storm surges and flooding.

Approximatively $17 million will be dedicated to making the port ready to tackle major emergencies, including an investment in a wharf that can withstand from three to five feet of sea level rise, and an 8.9 magnitude earthquake.

“Our port has been designated as the only federal staging area for emergencies in the South San Francisco Bay area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” she said. “In a time of crisis, our port will be used to deliver supplies, evacuate people and transport rescue teams to aid in disaster recovery and provide critical relief to our region. This is a tremendously important designation in our service to the community.”

Newest Everett Commissioner

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Everett’s newest commissioner, District 1 Port Commissioner-Elect David Simpson, was sworn in last week, taking over for former District 1 Port Commissioner Bruce Fingarson.

US Navy veteran Simpson comes to the port with more than 45 years of experience in the public and private sectors, including 30 years in the aviation industry – 24 years in manufacturing engineering for The Boeing Co. and six years as an aviation mechanic for the navy.

His public service career includes the Washington State House of Representatives 38th District, Everett City Council, City of Everett Planning Commission, Snohomish County Charter Review Commission, and the City of Everett’s Committee for Housing and Community Development.

“I am looking forward to working for the citizens of District 1 and ensuring the Port of Everett remains a competitive leader in the region,” Simpson said.

WPPA Awards Lifetime Membership

By Karen Robes Meeks

Outgoing Port of Vancouver USA Commissioner Jerry Oliver was recently lauded as an Honorary Lifetime Member by the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA).

Oliver was presented with the award on Nov. 22 at the WPPA Annual Convention in Tacoma, Wash. He was chosen for his outstanding leadership and service in the port industry. As a commissioner, Oliver played a key role in the $250 million West Vancouver Freight Access project to extend the port’s rail system from 11 to nearly 50 miles.

“Jerry Oliver’s impact on the Washington Public Ports Association has been monumental,” said WPPA President Don Meyer. “He has served as a past president of the association, as a commissioner at the Port of Vancouver since 2007 and has been an absolute stalwart member. For his contributions and leadership within the association, and within the Vancouver community, we were pleased to present Mr. Oliver with an Honorary Lifetime Membership.”

Oliver, who announced he would not seek a third term, will step down at the end of this month when his term expires.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Long Beach to Discuss On-Dock Rail

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Long Beach is inviting stakeholders to a community meeting to discuss Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, the key component of the port’s $1 billion rail improvement program.

The facility will allow cargo to be placed on trains rather than trucks when it arrives at marine terminals, curbing truck use in the area.

According to the port, the first arrival, departure and storage tracks are set to be operational in 2024, with more tracks being completed in 2030. The project is expected to be finalized in 2032.

The meeting will take place at 11 a.m., at the Long Beach Multi-Service Center, 1301 W. 12th St., Long Beach, Calif.

For more information on the project, visit

New Portland Commissioners

By Karen Robes Meeks

Katherine Lam and Meg Niemi are the newest members of the nine-member Port of Portland Commission, replacing outgoing Commissioners Tom Chamberlain and Gary Young.

Lam, who is president and co-owner of Bambuza Hospitality Group, and Niemi, who has been president of SEIU Local 49 for more than 13 years, were appointed by Gov. Kate Brown. The Oregon Senate approved the appointments Nov. 20.

“It's a great honor to serve the Port of Portland in this capacity,” said Lam. “Portland has an award-winning international airport with an exciting expansion ahead of it. I look forward to building on that momentum to create a prosperous future for the port and our community.”

Niemi said she is honored to join the commission. “We have an incredible opportunity for Oregon’s economy and the Port of Portland to reflect the community it serves and value the workforce that makes it all possible,” she said. “Together, we can navigate a path forward that strengthens and lifts everyone.”

Long Beach Port Offers Park Funding

By Karen Robes Meeks

Six projects aimed toward augmenting greenspace and parks recently received a boost of more than $4.3 million from the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. Recipients of the Port of Long Beach Community Grants Program include:

• City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services –$21,472 for Stephens Middle School edible garden

• Camp Fire Angeles – $645,286 for Discovery Trail at DeForest Park

• The Salvation Army – $670,000 for the Red Shield Youth and Community Center at Long Beach Boulevard and Spring Street

• City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine – $981,280 for Lincoln Park landscaping

• City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine – $999,100 for the Drake-Chavez Parks Connection Project, and

• City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine – $999,115 for the 51st Street Greenbelt

“With these grants, the Port is able to improve parks and recreational facilities that benefit areas around Long Beach that are closest to the cargo-movement routes,” said Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal. “This program and our environmental initiatives are just part of our effort to be a good neighbor.”

Christmas Ships to Call Camas-Washougal

By Karen Robes Meeks

The 65th annual Christmas Ships Parade returns to the Port of Camas-Washougal on the historic Columbia River on Dec 7.

The port will host as many as 30 decorated vessels for a special performance of this local tradition. Free hot cider and cookies will be served in the port’s meeting room for those wanting to escape the cold. Carolers from Washougal High School will add to the evening’s festivities.

The event is free. Doors open to the public at 5 p.m., with the parade set to begin at 6 p.m. at 24 South A Street in Washougal.

For more information, visit