I’m particularly proud of the following accomplishments which could only have been achieved with the collaboration of my fellow Commissioners and Port staff. I also take great pleasure in having been able to shape numerous other less obvious Port decisions.
New Executive Leadership
Co-chaired Executive Director Hiring Committee: With Commissioner Gregoire, we changed the job description of the Port leader from CEO to Executive Director to reflect the new emphasis on public service over corporate experience. Championed hiring of retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral, Steve Metruck, with whom I worked a decade prior when he was Captain of the Port in Sector Puget Sound.
Energy and Sustainability Committee: Founded and co-chair the committee to work with a broad range of stakeholders primarily to reduce Port’s greenhouse gas footprint.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels: Continue to lead efforts to explore viability of the Port to provide Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality around airport communities. These efforts include:
Led effort to create MOU between the Port and airlines to identify opportunities and challenges for airlines to use 10% SAF in 10 years at Sea-Tac.
Included $5 million in 2019 budget to further collaboration between producers and users of SAF to identify sustainable feedstocks and make SAF cost-competitive.
Pursuing legislation in 2019 supporting establishment of Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in Washington to encourage local production and use of alternative fuels.
Contracted with former Secretary of the Navy to host a major conference in 2019 bringing all key players together in order to advance us of SAF.
Enclosure of Light Rail Connection to Sea-Tac Terminal: Championed, with Commissioner Bowman, the enclosure of light rail connection to airport terminal and provided electric carts to make taking the train more pleasant in order to discourage people from driving to the airport.
“Strawless in Seattle”: Featured in premiere video that helped kick off international effort to end single-use plastic straws, by engaging vendors at Sea-Tac Airport and others around the Port to offer cardboard straws while discouraging use of straws entirely.
Solar Array: Supported efforts to install the Port’s first solar array on the roof of a net shed in Fishermen’s Terminal. Construction of another array is underway on Port headquarters at P69.
Brought media attention to Port’s removal of 2000 creosote pilings from Elliot Bay to elevate public awareness of the Port’s goal to restore 40 acres of marine habitat.
Supported the Smith Cove Blue Carbon Pilot Project as a priority of the E&S Committee. The Smith Cove project is designed to trap carbon in the environment by planting marine vegetation, reduce ocean acidification and improve water quality as well as creating fish habitat and contributing to the restoration of native Olympian oysters.
Serve on the Vessel Working Group for Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force.
Port representative on the Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board.
Worked with Visit Seattle, the Seattle Sports Commission and Clipper Round the World to install a pH sensor on jointly sponsored world-class sailboat as it sailed from Seattle to New York to raise awareness and document variations in ocean acidification along the voyage.
Championed the Port Commission’s motion supporting the Climate Initiative 1631.
Stood with Senator Cantwell, fishing and tribal leaders at a press conference at Fishermen’s Terminal in opposition to President Trump’s proposal to open Washington’s offshore waters to oil and gas development.
King County Cities Climate Collaborative (K4C): Became first Port amongst 16 cities to join K4C - established by Executive Constantine to coordinate and enhance the effectiveness of local government climate and sustainability actions.
Safe Energy Leadership Alliance (SELA): Member of SELA, which represents a broad range of urban and rural areas (including local, state, and tribal leaders from across the Northwest and British Columbia) to protect the health and safety of our communities from the transportation of fossil fuels. SELA is led by King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Co-Chair of Audit Committee for Port and Seaport Alliance: For two terms focused on accountability for high dollar and cash transactions, with particular attention given to cyber security issues. Furthermore, attention was focused to assure the Port accurately accounts for revenues generated from cruise ship operations. Analysis is currently underway evaluating the costs associated with the construction of the NW Seaport Alliance’s jointly funded redevelopment of Terminal 4 in Tacoma.
Worked closely with Public Affairs resulting in its Director reporting to both the Port and Commission to improve how the Port’s operations are represented to the public.
Worked with Port of Seattle Fire Department to improve living condition at temporary fire Station located within the PACCAR airplane hangar while permanent facilities are being built.
Inclusive Economic Opportunities
A 2019 economic report documents that the NW Seaport Alliance’s combined cargo terminals of Seattle and Tacoma anchor over 20,000 middle-class jobs, averaging $95,000 for a total of over $2 billion in salary and benefits to the region.
Served on Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management Committee to preserve industrial lands along the working waterfront. Worked with a diverse coalition to stop the development of stadium along the waterfront resulting in the decision to remodel Key Arena.
In 2018 delivered a 5-year blueprint to invest $300 million in our working waterfront; expanding international and domestic container cargo, cruise opportunities, supporting our fishing fleet, and much needed industrial space.
Unprecedented $348 waterfront investments in five-year budget blueprint include:
• $100 million for a new cruise berth (not designed but assumes 50 percent cost share)
• $39 million for development of Terminal 91 uplands
• $35 million for berth replacement at Terminal 91
• $30 million for bringing electrical power to the waterfront
• $23 million for Fishermen’s Terminal Gateway Building
• $17 million for a Terminal 117 habitat restoration program
Delivered on our commitment to bring more and improved job opportunities for ALL people in our region including our Priority Hire partnership with County/City; expanded business opportunities for small and minority businesses.
Supported expansion of Internship program (78 high school interns from 37 different area schools) as well as veterans fellowship and workforce development programs such as the Youth Maritime Cooperative.
Appointed by Governor Inslee to represent the Port on his Maritime Blue Task Force work group. Maritime Blue - the first initiative of its kind in the United States to bolster innovations in the maritime sector that create living-wage jobs, protect the environment and ensure sustainability of the industry.
Modernizing SeaTac International Airport: The Commission approved a capital budget for the airport in 2019 of $935 million and the five-year capital improvement plan of $2.7 billion.
Three major projects at the airport, the North Satellite modernization, new International Arrivals Facility and baggage handling optimization program reduce delays, provide more space, and services to travelers. These projects make up the majority of the 2019 investments.
Worked to assure the Port conducted a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the development of its Sustainable Aviation Master Plan (SAMP). The purpose of the SAMP is to build facilities that will allow the Airport to satisfy the region’s air transportation needs through the next 20 years in ways that meet the Port’s sustainability goals and objectives while accommodating 56 million passengers and meet the forecasted demand to 2027.
Support the exploration of additional regional airport while pursuing completion of SAMP.
Deeply engaged in negotiations with cab drivers, Teamsters Union and TNC operators (Uber, Lyft) for contracts to pick up passengers at Sea-Tac in a way that is equitable, environmentally responsible and profitable for both the drivers and the port.
Motion for Terminal-5: On November 13, 2018, Managing Members of the NWSA adopted a motion authorizing the Chief Executive Officer to complete Terminal 5 Modernization Project Bid documents. Secured the signature of all managing members on the motion to help reinforce commitment to the deal. The final vote to pursue the $348 million investment in maritime jobs is scheduled for February 26th.
Expansion of tourism grant program to include promotion of ecologically and culturally based tourism in Washington State as a form of rural economic development that also serves to protect our region’s natural assets.
Civil Rights and Equity
Championed the hiring of an additional representative to the Port’s Executive Leadership Team focused on Equity and Inclusion to improve operations both within the Port as well as with neighboring jurisdictions and communities. The new hire will be made soon.
Elevated the need to resolve past discrimination charges at Sea-Tac dining and retail facilities while significantly increasing the number of small, minority and women-owned businesses, including the first owned and operated by Native Americans.
Required the construction of modern bathroom and breakroom for cab drivers replacing substandard facilities that were supposed to be an obligation of the cab company that successfully competed for contract at the airport. These drivers are primarily people of color and part of our immigrant community, and were not being afforded basic sanitary facilities despite providing an essential service to the Port.
Worked with the Seaport Alliance and independent truck drivers to minimize the economic hardship on these predominantly immigrant community drivers while meeting NW Ports Clean Air Strategy goal of requiring all trucks entering marine terminals in Seattle and Tacoma to have 2007 or newer trucks.
Worked with Port staff and media to elevate awareness of opportunities for TSA and other federal employees to seek financial support during month-long government shutdown.
Supported the Ports 2016 partnership with the local community health non-profit, Just Health Action, to pilot the US EPA Ports Initiative’s Duwamish Valley Environmental Justice Project which aims to: improve environmental health outcomes for communities affected by ports and associated goods movement facilities, and improve environmental performance at ports.
Built on past leadership of combating racism and bias by adopting a Welcoming Port Policy. Our New Americans Campaign is currently active at SeaTac encouraging legally permanent residents to apply for citizenship.
Outreach and Inclusion
Highline Forum Co-Chair: The Highline Forum provides Southwest King County municipalities, and educational institutions neighboring Sea-Tac airport and the Port of Seattle the opportunity to share information and work in partnership on initiatives to both identify ways to minimize negative airport impacts while helping to assure that residents of Southwest King County economically benefit from their proximity to the airport.
Tribal Liaison Committee Member: Completed an update to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Suquamish Tribe and Muckleshoot Tribe in recognition of our government-to-government relationship as a result of Port operations conducted in the Tribes’ Treaty protected Usual and Accustomed (U&A) fishing areas. Working to engage tribal members in internships and economic development opportunities with the Port.
Improving Public Engagement at Commission Meetings: Changed Commission meetings start time from 1:00 pm to 12:00 pm in order to facilitate public testimony over lunch break.
Supported the creation of the million-dollar Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund. Authorized by the Commission in November 2016, in recognition that airport communities experience disproportionate impacts from airport operations. The program supports environmental projects and programs in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines.
The 2019-2023 budget blueprint allows up to $10 million for the South King County Support Program, with $750,000 budgeted in 2019. The Port Commission will engage communities before determining guidelines for uses and timelines for the expenditures associated with airport-related impacts.
Improving Air Quality at Cruise Ship Terminals: Led efforts to electrify cruise ship terminal at Pier 66, which was not done previously despite having electrified two cruise berths at P91. By “plugging in” at the dock, ships do not burn fossil fuels and support good air quality in Seattle. Also championing this effort along much of the working waterfront.
Worked to assure that significant community mitigation measures were incorporated as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the redevelopment of Terminal 5 as one of the premier container terminals on the west coast. These measures include the electrification of the terminal to reduce ship idling, low emission and quiet container handling equipment, on dock rail and a railroad quiet zone to minimize noise, traffic and to protect air quality.