Port of Tacoma News: Community outreach goal of LOB

An ambitious, three-part plan to enhance the Port of Tacoma’s community relations program could be implemented as early as next month, according to a discussion during the commission study session Jan. 13.

The efforts, which were outlined by staff from the port’s Community Economic Development Line of business during Friday’s meeting, include a program to assist customers who wish to be more involved in community non-profit organizations, a so-called speaker SWAT team designed to increase the pool of staffers who wish to speak about the Port during community events, and more frequent bus tours of the port.

“These aren’t necessarily new things, but we are doing them at a higher level than in the past,” said Julie Collins, Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs at the port. “We’re reinforcing that we’re doing things to enhance community development.”

Most of the enhanced initiatives were sparked by feedback from customers and Tacoma residents. According to Evette Mason, the port’s Community Relations Coordinator, steamship lines and terminal operators repeatedly asked how they could support non-profit organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County. To that end, port staffers compiled a list of names and descriptions of local non-profit organizations that will be sent to all steamship lines and terminal operators in the next few weeks. The port plans to follow up with its customers later in the year, as well as update the list twice a year.

“This is a great supplement to what we already do,” said Port Executive Director Timothy J. Farrell, who added that it answered the question of how to get customers more involved in the community.

The speaker SWAT team will help alleviate some pressure on the limited number of port staff who make presentations to community groups. According to Mason, the idea has received overwhelming support from staff, and at least 20 people are interested in participating in two training sessions. “Staff will feel comfortable and enthusiastic about being port ambassadors in the community,” said Mason.

Finally, the port will provide five tours for county-wide residents, and six tours targeted at specific community groups. Typically, city and county residents have the best opportunity to tour the port via boat tours during the annual Maritime Festival. “The boat tours are great, but we don’t want people to wait until September to tour the port,” said Mason. “And people in Pierce County want to see the port, but with security issues, it’s been more difficult.”

The port will advertise the tours in local newspapers.

Commissioner Dick Marzano applauded the idea of a more port bus tours.

“The more we entice people to come down and see what we’re doing, the more excited people will get about the Port of Tacoma,” he said. “This is a great idea.”


The Port of Tacoma Commission has rescheduled its meeting of Thurs., Jan. 19 to Thurs., Jan. 26.  The meeting will occur at 4pm at the Port Business Center, located at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road, Tacoma, Washington.