Port of Seattle

Port of Seattle
Location 2711 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98121
Opened September 5, 1911
Type of harbor Port authority
Chief Executive Officer Ted J. Fick
Draft depth 50 Feet
Air draft no restrictions
Coast Guard ISC
A ship at Pier 86 Grain Terminal
Grain Terminal Sign
A container ship and the Bainbridge Island ferry near Terminal 46
Plaque for salmon net pens, joint project between Port of Seattle and Muckleshoot and Suquamish Indian tribes
View of restaurant cafe and adjacent marina along Alaskan Way, Seattle waterfront
Ship Angela from Panama taking on grain at Pier 86 Grain Terminal

The Port of Seattle is a port district that runs Seattle's seaport and airport. Its creation was approved by the voters of King County, Washington, on September 5, 1911, and authorized by the Port District Act. It is run by an elected five-member commission.[1] The commissioners' terms run four years. In 2015, Sea-Tac Airport handled a record 42.3 million passengers[2] and the seaport division with the Port of Tacoma handled over 3.5 million containers (TEUs), making them combined the 3rd largest container gateway in North America.[3] In 2015, over 898,000 cruise passengers passed through the port's facilities.[4]

The Port of Seattle employs just under 1,800 employees.[5]

The port has three operating divisions (Aviation, Real Estate and Seaport), as well as capital development and corporate divisions.[6]

Among its facilities are the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Washington; the Shilshole Bay Marina; the Maritime Industrial Center and Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay; cargo terminals and a grain elevator on Smith Cove; and numerous cargo terminals on Elliott Bay, Harbor Island, and the Duwamish Waterway. The Port of Seattle also controls recreational and commercial moorage facilities and two cruise ship terminals.


The Port of Seattle celebrated its centennial in 2011. To mark the anniversary, the organization created a historical filled with photos and information about the port's and the region's history.

From the first Commission Report for 1912: The Port of Seattle came into existence on September 5, 1911, by a vote of the people of the Port District held on that date in accordance with the Port District Act of March 14, 1911. The work of the commission for the first six months was confined almost entirely to the preparation of projects which were duly approved by the people at a special election held on March 5, 1912. A Porsche 959 was stored for 13 years by the Customs Service at the Port of Seattle, until regulations were changed to allow Autos of Interest to be imported with severe limitations on their use.[7] Gates and Allen both helped pass the "Show and Display" law.[7][8]

In 1949 the U.S. Department of Commerce designated a foreign-trade zone in the port.[9]

On October 7, 2014, the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma announced an agreement to "jointly market and operate the marine terminals of both ports as a single entity," though they were not merging.[10] Joint operations began with the formation of the Northwest Seaport Alliance on August 4, 2015, creating the third-largest cargo gateway in the United States;[11][12] by the end of the year, it reported more than 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units handled by the two ports, an increase of 4 percent.[13]

Current issues

Recent years have brought significant changes to the Port of Seattle. In 2007, Tay Yoshitani joined the organization as CEO.[14] Just after his tenure began, two significant scandals occurred. The port police department uncovered a significant problem with racist and pornographic emails.[15] After the hiring of a new chief,[16] the organization began to regain its footing, only to be thrust in the spotlight again by former CEO Mic Dinsmore, who claimed a sizable severance had been authorized by the commission. The organization refused to pay and the claim was dropped, though the situation led to an attempted recall of one commissioner.[17]

Finally, in December of that year, the State Auditor's Office issued a critical report on the port's contracting practices (particularly those related to construction of the third runway).[18] The audit report sparked an investigation by the Department of Justice, which was later closed without action.[19]

Newly elected commissioners and CEO Yoshitani implemented a series of reforms, including increased commission oversight of port construction projects and consolidation of the organization's procurement activities into one division to afford better control.

Yoshitani also brought a heightened commitment to environmental practices. The port has many environmental programs, including shore power for cruise ships and a plan to clean up the Lower Duwamish Waterway (in partnership with Boeing, King County, and the City of Seattle).[20]

But increased container and cruise traffic have increased community concerns, just as the new runway did.

In 2012, port commissioners began outreach on the Century Agenda,[21] a strategic plan for the port's next 25 years.[22]

In 2012, the Port became one of the most vocal opponents of the proposal to build a new arena in the Stadium District.[23][24] However the Port has not been able to provide tangible proof or studies to refute what it says will cause issues for its operations, even though the City of Seattle has studied the Ports concerns at length and found them to be lacking in factual data or extensive studies.[25]

In 2015, an agreement to berth Royal Dutch Shell semi-submersible offshore drilling rigs at the Port's Terminal 5 led to protests against Arctic drilling.[26]

View of the port from the Space Needle

Port management

Current Port Commissioners

Position 1: John Creighton, elected 2005[27]
Position 2: Courtney Gregoire, elected 2013[28]
Position 3: Stephanie Bowman, elected 2013[29]
Position 4: Tom Albro, elected 2009[29]
Position 5: Fred Felleman, elected 2015[30]

Former Port Commissioners

This list comes from a book published in 1976 and current (2015 and beyond) events. Research ongoing for the rest of the names and terms.

General Managers and CEOs

Seattle Tugs

Sister ports

See also


  1. "Commission Home". portseattle.org.
  2. "Sea-Tac Airport growth continues with fifth straight record year for passengers". Port of Seattle. January 29, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. "Northwest Seaport Alliance tops 3.5 million containers in 2015". The Northwest Seaport Allance. January 21, 2016. Archived from the original on April 30, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  4. "Cruise Seattle 2016 Factsheet" (PDF). Port of Seattle. March 30, 2016.
  5. "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as of December 31, 2015 and 2014, and for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 | Schedule 22 (Number of Port of Seattle Employees by Division)" (PDF). Port of Seattle. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  6. "Organization". portseattle.org.
  7. 1 2 Stephan Wilkinson. The Gold-Plated Porsche. The Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut (2005) pages 21–2, ISBN 1-59228-792-1.
  8. "How To Import A Motor Vehicle For Show Or Display". National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. July 7, 2003.
  9. U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board Order Summary, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, retrieved September 16, 2016
  10. "Ports of Tacoma, Seattle announce alliance". The News-Tribune. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  11. Garnick, Coral (August 4, 2015). "Seattle, Tacoma ports OK 'bold' alliance in marine cargo business". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. Wilhelm, Steve (August 4, 2015). "The Northwest Seaport Alliance just became the third-largest cargo gateway in the U.S.". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  13. "Northwest Seaport Alliance tops 3.5 million containers in 2015" (Press release). Northwest Seaport Alliance. January 21, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  14. "Tay Yoshitani". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  15. "Port's investigation of its police officers' e-porn called flawed". The Seattle Times.
  16. "Colleen Wilson". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  17. "Report cites Port mistakes". The Seattle Times.
  18. "State audit blasts Port of Seattle". The Seattle Times.
  19. "Investigation of Port of Seattle fraud ends without indictments". The Seattle Times.
  20. "Environmental". portseattle.org.
  21. "Century Agenda". portseattle.org.
  22. "Port of Seattle prepares for stormy sailing in 25-year plan". The Seattle Times.
  23. "Stadium District Study - What & Why - Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development". www.seattle.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  24. "Proposed arena a job killer, say Port of Seattle leaders". The Seattle Times.
  25. "Seattle Arena Final Environmental Impact Statement Available". buildingconnections.seattle.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  26. Beekman, Daniel; Garnick, Coral (May 14, 2015), "More protests planned after giant oil rig muscles in", Seattle Times
  27. "King County Election Results". kingcounty.gov.
  28. "Courtney Gregoire". portseattle.org.
  29. 1 2 "Stephanie Bowman". portseattle.org.
  30. "Fred Fellerman". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  31. "Gael Tarleton". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  32. "Notice of Resignation" (PDF). Port of Seattle. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  33. "Bill Bryant". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on December 7, 2015.
  34. "Rob Holland". Port of Seattle. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  35. Heffter, Emily (February 13, 2013). "Holland resigns from Port position after story on his problems". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2016.

Media related to Port of Seattle at Wikimedia Commons



Coordinates: 47°36′50″N 122°21′15″W / 47.61388889°N 122.35416667°W / 47.61388889; -122.35416667

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