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Port of Seattle Marks Three-year Partnership with the Duwamish Valley Community

October 25, 2022

Three years ago, the Duwamish Valley community came together to advocate for a long-term, equity-oriented partnership with the Port of Seattle to address environmental justice issues linked to Port-related operations. Today, the community comes together with Port staff to give public testimony to the work and outcomes of that partnership, the challenges of maintaining it especially through a pandemic, and share a vision of hope for the years to come.

2022 is a three-year milestone for Resolution 3767, the Duwamish Valley Community Benefits Commitment, the first community-led environmental justice policy at a port. The work is guided by a community advisory group made up of South Park and Georgetown neighbors, called the Port Community Action Team (PCAT). Dre Avila of Georgetown, a member of the PCAT remarks, “This partnership between the Port and the Duwamish Valley has no expiration date – we are neighbors for life. Because of that it’s very important that we take the time establish strong foundations to make the relationship sustainable, accountable, and fruitful for the long-term benefit of the community.”


Some of these actions implemented over the past three years include:

  • Opening the Duwamish River Community Hub — the Port is leasing a building in the heart of the South Park Business District as a place-based economic development center to promote workforce development for local workers
  • Celebrating Duwamish River People’s Park — a community-driven effort to clean up an old industrial site and transform it into a 14-acre shoreline habitat with public access to the Duwamish River.
  • Port Parks Renaming Project — with thousands of community members participating in the process, the Port renamed six shoreline parks along the Duwamish River with names that reflect the cultural, historical, and environmental significance of each site.
  • Sponsoring a Youth-led Pedestrian and Bike Safety study — a youth-led ground-truthing study on bike and pedestrian infrastructure near Port properties, that has accelerated Port, Northwest Seaport Alliance, and City collaborations on traffic safety improvements in the Duwamish Valley
  • Organizing a PCAT logo contest — a graphic arts and public relations campaign to raise awareness about the PCAT and Duwamish Valley program while supporting the local artist economy
  • Hosting a Economic Justice Storytelling Series — a tour organized by Duwamish Valley journalists to elevate stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color entrepreneurs in Port-related industries, especially SEA Airport
  • Supporting Youth to lead Cleanups at Gateway Park North — youth-led cleanups at Georgetown’s last remaining river shoreline access point, a Port shoreline-property


In addition, the Port has invested in the Duwamish River Green Jobs Program, which aims to address the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the environmental sector, in light of the fact that “disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on communities of color [and that] people of color poll higher than whites in support for environmental issues,” as identified in the Green 2.0 Report.

The program aligns with the Washington STEM Career Connected Learning Framework and advances the goals of the Port’s Youth Internship Program by placing select previous Port interns into paid, skills training opportunities in the Green Jobs sector. The program specifically recruits youth from the Duwamish Valley who have experience in environmental work, in order to get them the next level of access to green jobs careers. Alexis Sorm, student at South Seattle College, was recruited as a participant due to her experience with environmental projects in South Park and a Port of Seattle internship at the airport. “I hope the program continues because we need adults to continue supporting youth like myself to learn the steps and different ways to really get into environmental jobs, since now we have the skills to do the work.”

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