A recent letter stated that a port’s mission is “economic development.” While that’s an important part, a port’s purpose is simply to serve district residents.
Port districts were established so that communities could free themselves from private, waterfront monopolies. Kingston’s was created in 1919 for a public dock. Legislation has since allowed projects such as rail centers, industrial areas, parks, and airports.
The term “economic development” appears only appears in Washington’s port laws with respect to job training and placement programs. While the legislature allows ports to do a lot of things, it wisely lets the individual districts decide their missions.
Kingston’s mission reflects priorities set through a public master planning process: “to enhance the economic and social well-being of the Port District Residents by support of the economy, and by providing a waterfront facility for recreation and leisure activities.”
Does that sound about right?