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Remarks by Incoming Commission President Gael Tarleton January 10, 2012

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 and integrity during the depths of a tough recession and through significant institutional reforms. He ended his term on a high note with the Port’s Centennial celebrations. Thank you so much.

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.

The 21st century’s second decade has the feel of another era just 50 years ago - the tumultuous decade of the 1960s.

  • In 1962, Seattle’s World’s Fair bumped Sea-Tac passenger traffic from 400,000 to 2,000,000.
  • 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 may be known as a defining moment in the history of public ports.

  • 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 – a Superfund Site. As we seek to balance many needs, let’s resolve to find solutions that “first, do no harm” and in the long run, “protect the best” of what we have here in Puget Sound.
  • 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 in the coming 25 years.

Open government is here to stay in Washington State – and finally, web-based technology makes it possible to live up to the expectations and promise of what transparent, accountable open government looks like.

We have built a 25-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 spectacular connection of mountains, rivers, salt water, and urban port create a front porch that welcomes all its citizens and visitors to explore anew.
  • An urban waterfront trail to connect neighborhoods old and new – 11.9 miles from Shilshole Bay to West Seattle – to bring the people back to the waterfront they own.

All that we do in the coming year is just one more building block towards a 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 do our part.