05.21.21 portyear

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: www.cdrpa.org.

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