The spirit of the 1911 Port District Act was to preserve prime real estate for the economic benefit of communities across our state. To ensure this control, it established ports as independent governments run by a board of locally-elected commissioners. Citizens could now elect an official with their economic future in mind - someone to represent them with the power to set port policy, establish annual budgets and designate leadership.

Commissioners set overarching policy and develop plans that guide the Port to success.
Commissioners set overarching policy and develop plans that guide the Port to success.

Primary functions of the Port Commission include establishing policies that guide the overall direction of the Port. Plans, such as the Strategic Plan and Master Plan, all drive the Port toward economic success for the community.

Implementation of policies is done by the Commission through the development of the annual budget. By allocating financial resources to key infrastructure projects, cargo handling investments and other projects, the Commission is moving policy toward goals they identified in their planning documents. These plans, combined with the annual budget, ensure the Port is headed toward achieving long-term goals aimed at generating economic benefits and jobs for our community, while connecting cargo with international markets.

Aside from policy-making, Commissioners are also responsible for the only employee they manage: the Chief Executive Officer. The CEO, in turn, administers Commission policies as part of day-to-day operations through the Port’s management team and support staff.

While many Commissioners across the country are appointed by their Governor, all of Washington’s 75 ports are led by an elected Board of Commissioners tasked with similar duties.