With the rapidly changing environment we find ourselves in today — from a global pandemic; to protests against police brutality in the wake of tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery; to families and businesses trying to stay afloat with a looming economic crisis — it is imperative for the Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda to be updated to remain relevant as an enduring vision statement and responsive to our current policies and strategies as well as the changing landscape.
In 2012, the Port of Seattle Commission approved the Century Agenda to achieve the Port’s 25-year vision of adding 100,000 jobs through economic growth (to total 300,000 Port-related jobs in the region), while reducing our environmental footprint. Even before the global pandemic reached Washington state, the Puget Sound region had already changed since the Century Agenda was first adopted:
- Seattle’s population grew 18 percent from 611,000 in 2012 to 725,000 in 2019
- International passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport grew from 3.2 million in 2012 to 5.7 million in 2019
- Regional unemployment decreased from 8 percent in 2012 to 4 percent in 2019
- Port strategies and policies have also evolved since 2012 and we saw the Century Agenda amended three times in 2017 alone
We recognized the Century Agenda needed to be durable, but at the same time adaptable to the changing landscape of the region. It also needed to align better with current Port of Seattle policies and strategies. In addition, reporting on progress to be accountable needed to be streamlined with metrics that are measurable, meaningful, and easily collected, with the goal of reducing duplication of efforts in planning and reporting.
Updated roadmap ahead
This week, the Port Commission updated the Century Agenda to do just that. We modified a goal to state that the Port will “Responsibly Invest in the Economic Growth of the Region and all its Communities” updating the previous version that the Port will “Use our influence as an institution to promote small business growth and workforce development.” Through this goal the Port of Seattle will ensure that we are creating opportunities for all of our communities. This has taken an even more significant meaning with the global pandemic and the Port’s role in providing relief and recovery to support, sustain and advance Port-related industries and industrial lands which are essential to the region’s continued growth and prosperity. The Port will consider the cultural, economic, and community impacts of that growth as responsible stewards of the public trust.
We added the goal for the Port to “Become a Model for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” In 2019, the Port established a new Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to address institutional racism and increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in Port policies, programs, and processes. Through this goal, the Port of Seattle will ensure that equity is at the core of all our work and the principles the Port embodies. Regional workforce development, use of and partnership with women and minority owned businesses, and small businesses will remain a focus of our community investment and engagement. Internal and external programs, structures, and practices will always be viewed and reviewed through an equity lens. This work has become even more pressing as our nation heals and address the systemic racism and racial injustice that continues to harm the African American community.
Finally, we added a goal for the Port to “Be a Highly Effective Public Agency.” Through this goal the Port of Seattle will ensure that its function as a public agency is marked by accountability, transparency, safety, innovation, and responsible financial stewardship. The Port of Seattle will always strive to be a good community partner and use our influence to ensure that all the communities we serve are healthy and safe.
Reaching our destination
We have more work to do. Setting the overarching goals for our Century Agenda is just the first step. Think of it as the roadmap towards a destination. The next steps will be to review our objectives. These are the strategies that we will use to achieve our goal. How do we reach our destination? Following the objectives are the business plans that tell us what resources we need to fulfill our objectives and meet our goals. We would love to engage the Port community as we review our objectives.
We will be posting information on our Port website so if you are interested in receiving updates on the Century Agenda, sign up at the Commission/Century Agenda Updates list. We will notify you once we post our objectives on the website so you can have an opportunity to review and provide feedback.