rory turnerRory Turner, Commissioner representing Port of Chelan County District #3 and Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Board Member, is announcing his intention to resign effective April 30, 2022.

Commissioner Turner was elected in November 2015 and has served on the Chelan County Port Commission since January 2016. “When I filed for re-election last May, it was my hope to serve another term on the Board. However, as a partner in several businesses and the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, my full-time focus is needed to help transition these businesses into a new operating environment. Regretfully, I cannot dedicate the time necessary to continue serving on the Regional Port Board,” explained Commissioner Turner.

One of Commissioner Turner’s lasting impacts will be his support and leadership in the formation of the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority in 2019. Commissioner Turner supported a regional approach to economic development. The Regional Port is the first of its kind in the State of Washington when Port of Chelan County and Port of Douglas County, two county-wide port districts functionally consolidated into one operating entity. The Regional Port gained statewide attention, and the Washington Public Ports Association named the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority the “2021 Port of the Year” for its political leadership in forming a Regional Port.

Commissioner Turner’s tenure as a Port of Chelan County Commissioner, and now as a Regional Port Board Member, has resulted in both organizations being very active in regional economic development projects. The Port of Chelan County purchased the former Lineage Properties in downtown Wenatchee and will soon reveal an adaptive reuse plan for the properties that will focus on providing small businesses with access to reasonably priced production space. The Port also purchased industrially zoned property in Malaga and is working on a promising economic development lead that could result in a significant new private sector investment in Chelan County.

One of the many positive outcomes of the Regional Port is a renewed focus on critical infrastructure investments at Pangborn Memorial Airport. The Regional Port is investing in a new approach lighting system that will improve commercial air service reliability in the winter months. In addition, reconstruction projects for the terminal building aviation ramp and the main taxiway system are underway. In total, approximately thirty million dollars in projects will be completed within the next two years.

Regional Port President and Port of Chelan County Commissioner District #2, JC Baldwin said, “Commissioner Turner has been an excellent Board Member and his knowledge of real estate development will be missed. His positive outlook and business background allowed the Regional Port to make smart strategic investments.”

Commissioner Turner commented “While I have mixed emotions regarding my resignation, it is tempered with the knowledge that the Regional Port Board is strong and actively engaged in setting policy that benefits our communities. I would also like to recognize the Regional Port staff. It has been an honor to work alongside talented, hardworking individuals that believe the Regional Port can make a difference in enhancing the economic vitality of the region.” While stepping down from the Regional Port Board, Commissioner Turner plans on staying actively engaged in community affairs and remains optimistic about our region’s economic potential.

In closing Commissioner Turner commented, “I would like to express my humble appreciation to the Citizens of Chelan County for entrusting me to serve as a Port Commissioner and Regional Board Member. It has been an honor.”

The Regional Port will begin the process of appointing a new Port of Chelan County District #3 Commissioner. The position will be publicly advertised, and the Board will soon approve a timeline and process for appointing a new Commissioner. Port of Chelan County District #3 encompasses the communities of Chelan, Manson, Entiat and the North portion of the City of Wenatchee. The appointed person will serve until the November 2023 election.

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Board of Directors (Left to Right): Commissioner Mark Spurgeon, Commissioner Donn Etherington, Commissioner Rory Turner, Commissioner Alan Loebsack, Commissioner JC Baldwin, and Commissioner Jim Huffman.

The Washington Public Ports Association has selected the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority as the Port of the Year for 2021. Kathy Pittis, President of the Washington Public Ports Association said, “while there were many deserving Ports, the political courage and leadership of the Port Commissioners from Chelan and Douglas Counties in forming a Regional Port was worthy of being chosen Port of the Year.”

Regional Port Board Chairman Alan Loebsack commented, “There are 75 Ports in the state of Washington and this award is highly coveted as an endorsement from your peers that your Port does outstanding work. We are humbled that we were selected.”

The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority was formed in June 2019. It is a first in the state of Washington that two county-wide port districts functionally consolidated into one regional port. Geographically, it encompasses 4,843 square miles, making it the largest in the state. The Regional Port serves a population of 120,000 citizens with a combined assessed value of $16.5 billion.

Rory Turner, Regional Board member commented, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the Regional Port Staff. Since day one, staff has rallied behind the concept and value of a Regional Port. They have worked as an effective team and are facilitating regional economic development projects that are making a difference.”

In early 2019 both Ports endorsed the formation of a citizen’s advisory panel to look into governance issues, specifically as it related to Pangborn Memorial Airport, which is jointly owned by both Ports. The citizen’s panel and the Port Commissioners soon thereafter endorsed a regional governance model, not only for the airport, but also for the Ports’ economic development efforts in North Central Washington.

Regional Board member Mark Spurgeon stated, “Thank you to WPPA for recognizing the Chelan Douglas Regional Port as Port of the Year. While it has been a lot of hard work, forming a Regional Port was in the best interest of the citizens we serve. I would also like to acknowledge Lisa Parks, the former Executive Director of the Port of Douglas County. Her leadership along with the current CEO Jim Kuntz helped make it happen.”

One of the Regional Port’s early successes was focused on helping small businesses survive the COVID-19 business uncertainty. The Regional Port was the lead entity in facilitating federal, state, and local funds to help small businesses. In Chelan and Douglas Counties, $4.2 million dollars were awarded to 727 small businesses – approximately 21% of the businesses in the two-county region. The average grant award was $5,847.

To learn more about current economic development projects taking place within the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority, please visit:

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Up to $5,000 is available for Chelan and Douglas county businesses with 20 employees or less to assist COVID-related response and recovery.

(September 15, 2020/East Wenatchee) – The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is accepting applications for emergency grants up to $5,000 each for businesses with 20 employees or less in Chelan and Douglas counties. Grant money can be used to assist with a variety of expenses related to impacts from COVID-19.

To learn more and apply, visit our COVID-19 Small Business Resources page to find more information and applications in English and Spanish.

“To date the Regional Port has distributed over $2.2 million dollars in federal, state, and local funding to more than 400 small businesses located in Chelan and Douglas counties,” stated Regional Port Board President Rory Turner. “We have seven programs still accepting applications with an additional $1.6 million available for local businesses impacted by COVID-19.”

Grant funds include new state funding of $945,000 available to businesses in Chelan and Douglas counties. These funds come from the state’s Working Washington Small Business program that uses federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across Washington State.

“The length and depth of the pandemic have hit small, main street businesses hard,” said Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “In particular, restaurants, hotels and other service industries have not seen the expected number of customers. Small businesses need these resources to stay open as we respond to the public health crisis and help get people back to work.”

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The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority (CDRPA) is proud to launch two new business support initiatives. The programs will assist small businesses in Chelan and Douglas counties navigate the business downturn associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. The Regional Port is allocating $100,000 for a Rent Participation Fund, and an additional $100,000 for a Getting Ready to Reopen Fund.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying business shutdowns have dramatically impacted many small businesses in our region. The Regional Port is committed to providing meaningful financial support to businesses as they safely reopen their doors,” stated CDRPA Board President Rory Turner. The Rent Participation Fund will provide up to $1,000 per qualifying business to help them pay rent. The business, landlord, and Port will each pay/contribute one third of rent under the program. Rent due for June 2020 and subsequent months is eligible.

The Getting Ready to Reopen Fund will provide up to $1,000 per qualifying business to reimburse the costs they incur to reopen their business or change operating procedures to follow proper health protocols related to COVID-19. Qualifying expenses include purchase of masks, gloves, thermometers, wash stations, sanitation supplies and equipment, signage, installation of plexiglass shields, marketing, and advertising expenses.

About the CDRPA: The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is the first of its kind in Washington by functionally consolidating two county-wide port districts into one operating entity. With the mission to “Work Together to Enhance the Economic Vitality of North Central Washington”, the CDRPA acts as the principal economic development agency for Chelan & Douglas Counties. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook.

Both programs are limited to companies located in Chelan or Douglas counties with ten or fewer full-time employees who have not received any Federal, State, or local grant funding for COVID-19 business impacts. Each program will end once all funds are expended, or December 31, 2020, whichever occurs first. More information and applications for both programs can be found at

portchelancountyThe Board of Commissioners of the Port of Chelan County will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 beginning at 5:30 pm at Confluence Technology Center, located at 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee, WA 98801.

The purpose of the meeting is to hear public comment on the potential functional consolidation of the Port of Chelan County and the Port of Douglas County into a single, regional Port Authority.

A Tri-Commissioner meeting will be held earlier in the day to discuss this and other issues:

The Board of Commissioners of the Port of Chelan County will attend the Tri Commission Meeting on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 beginning at 1:00 pm at Confluence Technology Center, located at 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee, WA 98801.


Chelan County Tri-Commission Meeting
May 29, 2019
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Confluence Technology Center
285 Technology Center Way
Wenatchee, WA 98801
1) Call to Order, Flag Salute, Introductions
2) Issue Discussion (lead)
a. Functional Consolidation of Port Districts (Port)
b. Strategic Planning (PUD)
i. Rock Island Relicensing and Early-Action Investments
c. Surplus Land for Substations (County)
3) Updates (lead)
a. Cashmere Mill District (Port)
b. Annual Growth Planning Meeting (PUD)
c. Columbia River Treaty (PUD)
d. Pangborn Commercial Air Service (Port)
e. Microsoft Agreement (PUD)
i. PUD Fiber Expansion and use of Broadband Programs
f. Facilities Planning and Headquarters Redevelopment (PUD)
4) Updates from the Mayors
a. Mayor Kuntz (Wenatchee)
b. Mayor Cooney (Chelan)
c. Mayor Farivar (Leavenworth)
d. Mayor Fletcher (Cashmere)
e. Mayor Alt (Entiat)
5) Commissioner Comments
6) Adjourn

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The Port of Chelan County has entered into a lease agreement for its second tenant at the Port’s Cashmere Mill District Business Park. Blue Spirits Distilling, a Chelan based distillery, has agreed to lease 6,800 square feet. This business expansion is expected to create 8 new jobs and result in private investment exceeding $500,000 in Chelan County. Just as important, small distilleries are an emerging industry contributing significant tax revenues to the State of Washington. In response to the news, Port of Chelan Commission Vice President Donn Etherington stated, “The Port is pleased with the strong market demand for the two 16,500 square foot buildings currently under construction by the Port. Our goal of creating new jobs and attracting private investment to the Cashmere Mill District site is being realized.”

The founder of Blue Spirits Distilling, Jeff Soehren, stated, “Our business has been experiencing rapid growth and it was critical for us to secure additional processing, warehousing and distribution space for our distillery operation. The Port Commission’s vision to constructed general-purpose shell buildings at its Cashmere Mill District Site could not have come at a better time for our expanding business.” Blue Spirits Distilling started in Chelan. They currently have two facilities in Leavenworth, a tasting room downtown and an event space, food, & cocktail lounge on Highway 2. This new addition will allow Blue Spiritsto expand its creative footprint by distilling bespoke whisky’s, including Rye, Bourbon and a Bavarian style Single Malt. This facility will allow Blue Spirits customers to experience all aspects of whisky production from grain processing through to barrel aging. Customers can even purchase their own barrels to commemorate this event and be able to taste them as they age.

Chelan County Commission Chairman Kevin Overbay commented, “Chelan County made a financial contribution from its dedicated economic development sales tax fund to assist the Port in constructing the buildings at the Cashmere Mill District Site. It is great to see an immediate return to the citizens of Chelan County.” “Cashmere is excited to see the economic development activities surrounding the Port’s development of the Cashmere Mill District Business Park. It is resulting in new jobs and private investments. I would like to thank the Port Commissioners for their leadership and vision,” said Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher.

Both buildings are expected to be completed this summer. Previously, the Port announced Hurst International, a Chatsworth, California based fruit label printer and labeling equipment manufacturer agreed to lease 6,500 square feet. The Port’s investment in the new buildings will exceed $6.7 million. Last summer, Chelan County Commissioners approved a $500,000 economic development sales tax grant for the project.

The Port of Chelan County is the lead economic development agency for the County. Three elected Port Commissioners govern the Port: JC Baldwin, Donn Etherington and Rory Turner.

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May 21, 2019 - On May 17th the Port of Chelan County was presented with the Washington Public Port Association’s 2019 Creative Partnership Award for its role in the creation and evolution of the Pybus Public Market on the Wenatchee Waterfront. Pictured above receiving the award is Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz, Commissioner Donn Etherington and Commission President JC Baldwin.

The success of the Pybus Public Market was possible due to multi-faceted partnerships with the City of Wenatchee, the federal government, State of Washington, private investors, and non-profits.

The Port of Chelan County purchased the 28,000 square-foot warehouse in 2010 to stimulate private investment on the Wenatchee waterfront, create a yearround public market, and provide a permanent home for the seasonal Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market. This vision captured the attention of the community. This led to financial support from U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s office, the City of
Wenatchee, Local Revitalization Funding from the state, and a generous private donation. This culminated with a $5.75 million investment into reconstruction of the core and shell followed by many millions more invested by tenants locating in the Market.

The Market opened in May of 2013 with great success. In early 2017, the Port sold the Market to the Pybus Charitable Foundation. In 2018, the Port and the Charitable Foundation started another chapter with its Pybus Partnership. The Port entered into a five-year lease with the Foundation for the newly constructed second floor of the Pybus Annex in order to attract tech entrepreneurs to Chelan County and stimulate economic development. The Port’s Business Incubator currently has its first tenant in place: Subsplash, a Seattle-based software company.

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The Port of Chelan County has entered into a lease agreement for its first tenant at the Port’s Cashmere Mill District Business Park. Hurst International, a Chatsworth, California based fruit label printer and labeling equipment manufacturer, has agreed to lease approximately 6,500 square feet. This recruitment success is expected to bring 10 new jobs and private investment exceeding $1,000,000 to Chelan County.

In response to the news, Port of Chelan County Commission President JC Baldwin stated “Recruiting a manufacturer supporting our agricultural industry as the first tenant in Cashmere is a huge win. I couldn’t be more excited about this news.”

The founder of Hurst International, Ari Lichtenberg, stated “We have had a growing presence in the region with our cutting-edge products and processes. Now is the time to add a manufacturing presence to serve our growing list of customers in Washington State.” Current regional customers include Gebbers Farms, Auvil Fruit, and Chelan Fruit.

Chelan County Commission Chairman Kevin Overbay commented that “Chelan County made a financial contribution from its dedicated economic development sales tax fund to assist the Port in constructing the buildings at the Cashmere Mill District Site. It is great to see an immediate return to the citizens of Chelan County.”

In September 2018, the Port started construction on two general-purpose industrial buildings each containing 16,500 square feet. They are expected to be completed in late spring. “

Cashmere is excited to see Hurst join Louws Truss in providing quality jobs in Cashmere. We look forward to more companies and jobs coming to this location. The Port has not even completed the buildings yet and the first tenant has been secured. I would like to thank the Port Commissioners for their forward looking investment in our community,” said Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher.

The Port of Chelan County is governed by three elected Port Commissioners: JC Baldwin, Donn Etherington and Rory Turner.

pangborne logo 200A record number of Airline passengers flew out of Pangborn Memorial Airport in 2018. Passenger enplanements totaled 64,689 which represents a 7.2% increase over 2017. Passengers flying into the greater Wenatchee Valley totaled 62,874 a 7.1% increase from 2017. Total passenger volume of 127,563 is a record for the Airport.

Due to passenger growth in 2017, Alaska Air added additional flights during the summer and holidays in 2018. “Alaska continues to be a strong partner, adding more flights at busy travel times supporting local residents and businesses”, said Chelan County Port Commission President JC Baldwin.

The other major factor in the record passenger numbers was a significant reduction in cancellations in 2018. The percentage of cancelled flights fell from 5.9% in 2017 to 2.7% in 2018.

“As our community seeks more air service, they continued to use the expanded Seattle service, which is the best way to get more flights to more destinations in the future”, said Douglas County Port Commission President Jim Huffman.

2018 also marked important progress in the communities’ goal of securing additional air service. This past summer the Airport was awarded a $750,000 Federal grant to secure non-stop regional jet service between Pangborn Airport and the San Francisco Bay Area. This grant was matched by over $400,000 in local pledges.

The Airport has held meetings with several interested airlines with the goal of obtaining new service by mid-2020.

The Airport is jointly owned by the Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties.

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EAST WENATCHEE, WA, July 10, 2018 – Pangborn Memorial Airport is proud to announce it has been awarded a federal Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) Grant of $750,000 to support its effort to land nonstop service to the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Department of Transportation awarded the grant to match the incredible community support for the new service. So far, more than 90 pledgers have committed more than $400,000 in matching funds. That local funding was a key reason the Department of Transportation joined the effort with its award.

“The broad based regional support for this new service was critical to securing this grant and bodes well for successful service to San Francisco, enhancing the economy and quality of life in central Washington,” stated Rory Turner, President of the Pangborn Memorial Airport Governing Board and the Port of Chelan County Commission.

“This Grant award validates our effort, and strategy, in the recruitment of additional airline service for all of Central Washington,” said Trent Moyers, Director of Pangborn Memorial Airport. “Now the hard work begins, as we make the business case to prospective airlines, working to convince them Wenatchee is the best place for their limited aircraft.”
Pangborn received strong support from Federal elected officials including Senators Cantwell and Murray and Congressmen Reichert and Newhouse.

The Air Service Investment Program supported by this grant award is designed to share the financial risk of launching new service with the airline. The funding also demonstrates the region’s intent to use the new service.
An airline will invest about $8 million to start daily jet service over a two-year period. That risk is mitigated by the grant and the contributions from businesses, organizations and individuals in four counties in north central Washington, as well as from several companies in California.