Editor’s Note: The following are the remarks that NPI’s President, Gael Tarleton, delivered at the first regular meeting of the Seattle Port Commission for 2012, following her election as President of the Commission for the remainder of the year.
Thank you, fellow Commissioners, for the opportunity to serve this coming year as President of the Port of Seattle Commission.
We are indebted to Commissioner Bryant for his three years serving as Commission President. He led the Commission and Port with dignity through a tough recession and a period of important institutional reforms. He ended his term on a high note with the Port’s Centennial celebrations. We are all grateful to you, Bill.
Now the Port enters its second century.
Every year there are new challenges to meet and milestones to mark. As we confront the changes that will inevitably come, we can reflect on eras past when technology revolutionized trade and travel by air and sea.
This second decade of the 21st century has the feel of another era fifty years ago — the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. In 1962, Seattle’s World’s Fair bumped SeaTac passenger traffic from 400,000 to 2,000,000 travellers.
The shipping container revolutionized the maritime shipping industry and Terminal 5 began construction as the Port of Seattle’s first container terminal.
And in December 1962, the Port dedicated Shilshole Bay Marina.
2012 is shaping up as one of those years that feels like a defining moment for local ports competing in a local economy.
- We’ll know what the future of container trade in Puget Sound looks like as global shippers redefine global trade routes in the Post-Great Recession Era. Cargo, like water, seeks the path of least resistance. We cannot be in a race to the bottom – we must be in the race to build our future.
- We’ll learn the plan for cleaning up the Lower Duwamish River – home to salmon, wildlife, ancient native traditions, and 80,000 jobs. As we seek to balance many needs, let’s resolve to find solutions that “first, do no more harm” and in the long run, “protect the best” of what we have here.
- We’ll keep focused on the City of Seattle’s Shoreline Master Plan revisions – a 10-year covenant we make to balance the needs of a working waterfront with sustainable urban communities.
- We’ll launch our Century Agenda campaign to generate 100,000 port-related jobs – one hundred thousand jobs — in King County and the broader region in the coming twenty-five years.
- We will commit to continuing the Port’s role as an economic engine – and an engine of equal opportunity – for the 2 million residents of King County.
Open government is here to stay in Washington State – and finally, web-based technology makes it possible for the Port of Seattle to live up to the expectations and promise of what transparent, accountable open government looks like.
We have built a twenty-five year vision for sustaining a working seaport and airport in the midst of urban Pugetopolis, along the shores of one of the most biologically diverse inland seas in North America, the Salish Sea – more commonly known as Puget Sound. Ten years from now, we’ll look back on the start of our race to the future — and maybe, we’ll see this:
- Washington companies leading a national export recovery.
- A city and county whose sense of place comes from its connection to the mountains, rivers, salt water, and an urban port; and whose citizens and visitors are free to explore anew in the era beyond the viaduct.
- An urban waterfront trail connecting neighborhoods old and new – 11.9 miles from Shilshole Bay to Fishermen’s Terminal to Smith Cove Cruise Terminal to the Lower Duwamish and West Seattle – bringing the people back to the waterfront they own.
All that we do in the coming year is just one more building block towards a 21st century future where the Port of Seattle is still the place where the world comes to us, and we go out to the world. Let’s keep doing our part.