May 22, 2024 7:24 pm

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Port of Everett discuss boundary enlargement in EASC coffee chat

EVERETT, Wash., April 9, 2024—Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber joined Wendy Poischbeg, Interim President and CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County, for a Coffee Chat on April 9 to discuss an August ballot measure to expand the existing boundary of the port district.

SOURCE: Port of Everett

In a historic action on Dec. 19, 2023, the Port of Everett Commission unanimously passed Resolution No. 1220, directing Port staff to submit a proposition to enlarge the limits of the existing Port District to the Snohomish County Council for voter consideration — a first since the citizens voted to create the Port back in 1918. On March 12, 2024, the Snohomish County Council unanimously approved a motion to place the petition by the Port of Everett for boundary enlargement on the August 2024 primary ballot.

The measure will consider enlarging the Port District to include most of Snohomish County, excluding Edmonds. The decision follows years of discussion on the topic and a recent exploratory effort by the Port to conduct an economic value study and legal assessment of expanding boundaries beyond its current footprint to be better positioned to bring value and economic opportunities to more of the County.

“At this time, only about 15 percent of the County population has access to port economic development resources,” Port of Everett CEO/Executive Director Lisa Lefeber said. “The Port of Everett is one of the largest ports in the state that doesn’t serve the whole county. This measure, if passed, would allow the Port to invest in key transportation, economic development, and environmental projects outside the current District.”

Because the proposed boundary expansion for the Port of Everett District exceeds a population of 500,000, as required by RCW 53.12.120, a second ballot measure would be brought forward to voters to keep the current governance structure at three commissioners or change it from three to five commissioners.

The Port could include the option on that ballot to have the two additional commissioners be at-large positions; the option to have the two additional positions be at-large can also be presented later to the voters. If the option to have the two additional commissioner positions be at-large is not included on the ballot, and the voters vote in favor of increasing the number of commissioners to five, then the default would be that the Port be divided into five districts. If the option to have the two additional commissioner positions be at-large is included on the ballot, but the voters vote against the at-large positions but in favor of increasing the number of commissioners to five, then the Port would be divided into five districts.

The Port staff is preparing the required documentation to file with the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, and subsequently, the Snohomish County Council to add it to the ballot. 

The Port would also re-open the public input process for its Strategic Plan to ensure feedback and the economic and community needs of each community are considered in the Port’s vision and capital investment plan moving forward. Snohomish County Voters living within, and around, the proposed port district enlargement areas will have the opportunity to cast their decision in the August 6 Primary Election.

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