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Orders, Resolutions, and Policy Directives

Policy Directives

Policy directives provide direction from the port commission to the executive director and port staff on a wide range of policy subjects. They generally cover governance of long-term processes and ongoing decision making. Policy directives do not expire, although they may be repealed or amended over time. Policy directives govern any related policy statements or procedures developed under the executive director’s authority. They are established and updated by use of resolutions, and several resolutions may contribute to a single policy directive.

Motions now called Orders 

The commission uses formal, written Orders to express views or take actions beyond specific contracting, lease, or procurement authorizations and that are not topics appropriate to a resolution. Orders typically address matters that do not involve long-term decision making. Examples of order subjects include chartering special committees, endorsing ballot initiatives, appointing staff positions and board memberships, and creating pilot programs to help inform policy development.

Please note the Port of Seattle Commission Adopted Resolution 3778 on October 27, 2020 amending the Commission Bylaws changing the name of Commission Motions to Commission Orders 


The Port of Seattle is a special-purpose government like a school, fire, or utility district. Because it does not enact laws, resolutions are the closest thing the port has to the ordinances enacted by towns and cities.

Resolutions are the documents the commission uses to take important and long-lasting actions. They are used when:

  • required by law;
  • repealing or amending other resolutions;
  • creating or updating policy directives; or
  • taking actions considered “legislative” in character, like agreements that require another government body to act by ordinance.

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