With the rollout of the vaccine we have hopefully reached the beginning of the end of the pandemic. However, the economic burden of the pandemic is still weighing heavy on communities throughout our region (in addition to all the death and lasting physical and mental health impacts caused by the virus.)
The Port has committed to help advance an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic. As part of our emergency response last year, we have already budgeted tens of millions of dollars to support community groups in South King County, give youth of color access to internships at the Port, and upgrade infrastructure that will support thousands of family-wage jobs for decades to come.
Now that the immediate emergency response period has passed, we have a little more time to slow down, breathe, and think deeply about what comes next. As the Port prepares to start the process of planning our next initiatives and the 2022 budget, I proposed that the Port should take the time to reach out in a systematic way to get meaningful input from community groups and regional stakeholders.
Too often I hear community members express frustration that their voices are not being heard by their local government. This is not right. I believe one of the best ways we can avoid this feeling out in the community is by reaching out, proactively, and asking people what they think government should be doing. For the next 2 months, this is exactly what the commission will be doing. My colleagues and I will be reaching out to everyone from the business community to community-based organizations and everyone in-between to host listening sessions and learn what the Port of Seattle can do to contribute to our recovery most effectively and equitably.
But you have a chance to weigh in too! The Port has set up a webpage where you can provide your thoughts thoughts on how the Port can best partner with community and advance an equitable economic recovery. I hope to either see you at one of the listening sessions or to hear from you via the online form!
Commissioner Sam Cho