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It’s Ports Day! Creating Jobs and Propelling the Economy

Today, April 5th, seaports of the Americas will celebrate Western Hemisphere Ports Day—an opportunity to showcase our industry’s role in job creation and economic prosperity. Ports are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure within the state of Washington and Pacific Northwest, and indeed the whole Western Hemisphere connecting farmers, manufacturers, workers and consumers to the global marketplace.

United in our common goal of creating prosperity throughout the Hemisphere, the Port of Kalama is proud to join hundreds of ports in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, to highlight and celebrate the value of ports.

Like ports worldwide, the Port of Kalama has an ongoing commitment to help educate our community and its leaders about the important role we play as a vital link to the global economy.

The importance of ports in our region is well documented.  According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, in 2016 North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.07 trillion.

However, the economic worth of all cargo in terms of jobs and business activity is much greater than its market value. According  to a recent survey, in the U.S. alone, port activity generates over 23 million jobs and accounts for over one quarter of the nation’s economy.

Ports also play a critical role in providing goods that impact our everyday lives. Millions of tons of food, clothing, medicine, fuel and building materials, as well as consumer electronics and toys, move through Western Hemisphere seaports every day.

We are proud to join hundreds of Western Hemisphere seaports in the celebration of Ports Day. In support of workers, farmers, employers, manufacturers and consumers everywhere, we are excited to meet the growing demands of the future.

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Longtime Port of Kalama finance manager, Stu Shelby, retires

Port of Kalama today bids adieu to longtime finance manager Stu Shelby. Shelby, who retires today, has worked at the Port for nearly 20 years managing all financial statements, budgeting processes, and annual audits in addition to day-to-day finance needs of the Port.

Shelby has overseen the financing of some of the Port’s milestone projects like the Kalama River Industrial Park, Columbia River Channel Deepening, Haydu Park and the first phase of Spencer Creek Business Park, the new Administrative Building and Interpretive Center and now the new McMenamins slated to open in April.

“The development and growth we’ve seen over the last 20 years—well, it hasn’t been boring,” laughs Shelby. “The Port of Kalama has been an incredible place to work and contribute to the community—the commissioners and staff are the best team around, so diligent and supportive. It’s been a terrific opportunity.”

“The commission cannot thank Stu enough for his guidance as our in-house auditor and for his attention to details in the management of our finances over the past two decades of growth,” said Commissioner Randy Sweet, Port of Kalama Commission President. “We are so pleased to announce that Mindy Heuer, who has trained under Stu’s guidance, will now assume that important position.”

Heuer, currently accounting specialist at the Port, has accepted the promotion to finance manager. Heuer, who just finished her Masters of Science in Finance at Seattle University this week, will now manage the department and oversee financing and accounting for all of the myriad Port projects. Heuer is also a certified public accountant.

“Stu leaves such incredibly big shoes to fill—I’ve learned so much from him and I’ll miss him terribly,” says Heuer. “He set up a system that runs like clockwork—he’s been meticulous in his management and accounting which makes it easy to pick right up. We wish him well in his new adventures.”

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Discover! What is the Port’s business model—how does it generate revenue?

Included in the Port’s sources of revenue are leases of various Port properties and buildings, marine terminals, services associated with grain terminal & break-bulk docks and the Kalama marina.

About 78% of the Port’s value is invested in capital assets which include land, buildings, docks, improvements such as roads and utilities, and equipment which are valued at over $132 million.

The Port owns and manages over 1,000 acres of property which includes our parks.


Next up: Discover! What is the economic impact of Port of Kalama?

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Discover! What projects is the Port now working on—and are they are a part of the Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements?

From the new Spencer Creek Business Park to a new building in the Kalama River Industrial Park, McMenamins locating here, and international businesses choosing Kalama as the perfect place to grow—all of these exist now thanks to years and years of contemplation, collaboration and diligent planning. Port predecessors worked thoughtfully for decades to plan and prepare for the regional success the region is now experiencing.

The Port continues the community’s history and pioneering vision of growing with purpose and intention—in ways that will benefit the entire region for decades to come. This vision brings with it thousands of jobs, revenue streams, economic vitality and opportunities for all who live in Cowlitz County.

Thanks to responsible planning over decades the Port enjoys a thriving recreational system with parks and playgrounds, a new sports complex, and popular riverfront, pathways and marina enhancements. All of these business and recreational assets improve the health, livability and economy here—and all without any Port-levied taxes.

Some examples of decades of Port planning manifesting in projects that will benefit the entire region include:

The North Port Heavy Industrial Site, which will be the home of the Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility, has been identified and developed to support such industry for over 20 years and through multiple Comprehensive Planning processes.  Specifically, the plans have identified construction of a new wharf, installing roads and utilities, and developing a water system for industrial use

Spencer Creek Business Park: Economic assessments as early as the mid-1990s identified a future need for additional mixed-use development along I-5 and for additional recreational opportunities.  The Port included this information in the Comprehensive Plan, and as suitable property became available, began purchasing and planning.  The result is the current development which has begun at I-5 Exit 32 and includes Haydu Park and the Spencer Creek Business Park.

Next up: Discover! What is the Port’s business model—and how does it generate revenue?

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Discover! What is a Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements, and how does the Port make business decisions?

Ports in Washington state are required to develop comprehensive plans to guide investments and establish policies for activities. The Port of Kalama Commission is governed by policy set forth in the Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements as it is officially named—which is required by law. The Commission—as part of planning—helps to create a balanced and diverse industry base to provide living wage jobs and a range of community recreational amenities.

A comprehensive planning process helps to determine community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. The Scheme identifies opportunities for future investment, operation and development that will benefit the community. The comprehensive planning process can be condensed into a three step “how to” process that describes the port’s assets, what is going to be done with them, and how:

  1. An inventory of assets including lands and facilities.
  2. Proposed use of assets
  3. The implementation plan


The Port of Kalama holds extensive internal discussions and public meetings annually to clarify and update its vision. The Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements is the embodiment of the Port and community vision for achieving the Port’s mission. The Port’s annual strategic planning process outlines goals and objectives to ensure that the Port meets its commitment to excellence contained in the Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements. Citizens are welcome to both comment during the planning phase of this framework and are welcome to review it anytime: Comprehensive Scheme And Plan of Harbor Improvement.

The Port of Kalama is a key source of family wage jobs in Kalama and Cowlitz County. The Port offers employers an array of properties, from developable land to industrial buildings and Columbia River dockage. Transportation is a key to the Port’s properties, with excellent access to rail, highway and water.

The Port of Kalama’s comprehensive planning process identified several key projects as beneficial to the entire Kalama community: major investment planned in the Spencer Creek Business Park, North Port large industrial development known as the Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility, as well as public recreation and tourist attractions. The Port also envisions continued growth in the Kalama River Industrial Park’s cadre of flexible industrial properties. As the Port continues to attract tenants to existing properties, it will seek mission-suited opportunities to enhance its holdings and acquire property as fiscally responsible.

Next up: Discover! What projects now underway are a part of the Port’s Comprehensive Planning Process?


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Discover! Port of Kalama Commissioners—roles, responsibilities, districts

Port of Kalama Commissioners are elected to six-year terms as defined by law. Many of the Port’s projects and developments are the results of long-term planning and decades long vision.

The elected Port of Kalama Board of Commissioners sets Port policy and follows the guidelines of the Port’s Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements, a legal document that provides a framework to guide day-to-day decisions and helps the Port achieve its mission. The Commission helps to create a balanced and diverse industry base to provide living wage jobs and a range of community recreational amenities.

Are there laws governing the Port and Commissioners?

The Port of Kalama and the elected commissioners must work within the framework of the laws and permitting policies of the State of Washington and federal government. The Port must comply with the laws of the city, county, state and federal government, and abide by the laws of the jurisdiction in which  any development is proposed. The Port is subject to environmental regulations and permitting guidelines like any other jurisdiction or government entity.

How can citizens reach their commissioners?

Citizens interested in communicating with their Port of Kalama Commissioner can call the Port offices at 360-673-2325; send letters to their Commissioner at the Port office, 110 West Marine Drive, Kalama, Washington 98625; or email

What are the Port Commissioner boundaries?

Each commissioner  resides in one of three districts within the Port of Kalama Special Purpose District. The districts are created based on equal representation of population.

Next up: Discover! What is a Comprehensive Plan and Scheme of Harbor Improvements? And how does the Port make business decisions?

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Scoping period opens for Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement at Port of Kalama

The public is invited to comment in writing on the scope of the draft statement between January 30, 2018 and March 1, 2018.

Port of Kalama today announced that the scoping period for the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) is now open to public comment between January 30, 2018 and March 1, 2018.

Northwest Innovation Works, LLC is proposing to develop and operate a natural gas-to-methanol production plant and storage facility at the Port of Kalama. A Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project is being prepared to provide additional analysis and consideration of mitigation for emissions of greenhouse gases from the project.

The public is invited to comment on the scope of the DSEIS which will supplement the final EIS published in September 2016. Public comment must be done in writing and sent via email to or mailed to:

Ann Farr, Port of Kalama, 110 W. Marine Drive, Kalama, WA 98625

Additional information on the project and a description of the proposed scope of the DSEIS can be found at Public comments can be made there as well.

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Port of Kalama commences construction on Kalama Marina Renovation project, encourages public to sign up for notices

Construction activities on the Marina Renovation Project at the Port of Kalama are scheduled for February 2018 through July 2018. The Port wants the public to be aware that in the coming weeks construction activities to replace certain key features at the marina will commence:

  • Boat launch and fuel docks and floats along with the fuel system
  • Marginal floats and docks in the moorage area and guest dock
  • Power pedestals and waler boards for each slip
  • Roof structure where needed
  • Gangways and wood piling


The boat launch and fuel dock along with the fueling system are expected to be closed from approximately mid-April until the end of May, 2018.  Alternative marine fuel locations along the Columbia River are available in St. Helens and Cathlamet.

The Port strongly encourages the public to sign up for email project updates here, and follow the Port on Facebook, where there will be consistent updates and information for marina users. Marina patrons can also sign up for email notices and updates by filling out the form here.

Questions can also be directed to the Port administrative office 360-673-2325 at any time.  The project is expected to be completed by the end of July.

“We understand what an interruption means to our valued patrons and visitors and we appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we embark on the biggest marina renovation project since it was originally built,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “While there will be short-term construction, we believe the end product will restore the marina so it can be enjoyed for decades to come.”

About Port of Kalama – Where rail and water meet:
The Port of Kalama is located in Southwest Washington on the Columbia River and immediately off of Interstate Highway 5. The port exists to induce capital investment in an environmentally responsible manner to create jobs and to enhance public recreational opportunities. Port of Kalama’s industrial area includes five miles of riverfront property adjacent to the 43′ federally-maintained deep draft navigation channel of the Columbia River. The Port is served by the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads. There are over 30 businesses located at the Port of Kalama, employing over 1,000 people. Port of Kalama offers all the superior facilities businesses need to thrive, and an unsurpassed quality of life. The port offers shovel ready sites, a new Industrial Park, state of the art Marine Terminals and transportation accessibility to rail and highway all just a 30-minute drive to the Portland International Airport. Port of Kalama also offers high-bandwidth communications, with dual access fiber-optic service to Seattle and Portland. Properties currently available at the port for businesses wishing to expand and thrive: Visit

Contact: Liz Newman, marketing manager, Port of Kalama, 360-673-2379 or Claudia Johnson, PR, 503-799-2220.

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Discover! What is the Port of Kalama? What is our mission?

Thank you for joining us on our journey of discovery. There will be opportunities for us to gather at events and get to know each other—but for now, we’ll go first!

What is the Port of Kalama?

The Port of Kalama is a local government agency considered a Special Purpose District in the State of Washington, which has the largest system of public ports in the world. In Washington, Special Purpose Districts are limited purpose local governments separate from a city, town, or county government. The Port was organized by a vote of the people of Kalama, Washington in 1920. The elected Port of Kalama Board of Commissioners meets twice a month to discuss Port business and set policy based on a legal community directive called a Comprehensive Planning Process. The Port welcomes the public to Commission meetings which are held in the Port of Kalama Administrative Office Building, 110 West Marine Drive, Kalama, Washington 98625.

What is the Port’s mission?

The Port of Kalama’s mission is ‘to induce capital investment in an environmentally responsible manner to create jobs and to enhance public recreational opportunities.’  The Commission ensures a sound economic development strategy for the Port to create a balanced and diverse industry base, provide living wage jobs and a range of community recreational amenities. The Kalama River Industrial Park—now  home to many business tenants—and recent construction of Haydu Park and maintenance of the Kalama marina and riverfront parks are examples of the commission’s stewardship.

At the core of our mission is a promise to carefully evaluate community investments all while protecting and enhancing our natural resources. That careful balance is in the DNA of every single project the Port embarks upon.

What are Port of Kalama boundaries?

The Port of Kalama lies between the Port of Woodland to the south and the Port of Longview to the north within Cowlitz County. Some of the Port lies within the City of Kalama and some is within the jurisdiction of Cowlitz County. The Port of Kalama has five distinct areas, including:

  • North Port Heavy Industrial Area
  • East Port –Spencer Creek Business Park and Haydu Park
  • Kalama River Industrial Park
  • Central Port Primarily Recreational Area
  • South Port Industrial Area

Next up:

Discover! Port of Kalama Commissioners—roles, responsibilities, districts


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Port of Kalama seeks innovative partner to develop first phase of Spencer Creek Business Park

The Port of Kalama has issued a Request for Interest (RFI) seeking a partner in the development of the five-acre commercial parcel located at the entry to the proposed Spencer Creek Business Park. The high-visibility site is a critical first phase of the long-planned Spencer Creek Business Park and is expected to be a major focus of ongoing economic development efforts.

The Port seeks an innovative partner to create a desirable destination off of I-5 at the entry to the Spencer Creek Business Park. The first phase of commercial development is now being planned as the gateway for the rest of the mixed-use property. More than 30 companies, employing more than 1,000 people, already call the Port of Kalama home, and the Port’s Industrial Parks employ more than 400 people just ¾ – mile from the proposed site at the Park.

“The Port of Kalama seeks a partner that brings vision and expertise to the development of this important new mixed use commercial site—we’ve already made a significant investment in site preparation and infrastructure to support future development, and the Port offers the financial capability and commitment to provide the necessary ongoing support to assure a successful outcome for the development,” says Mark Wilson, executive director, Port of Kalama. “The Port is committed to reducing barriers to development and providing clarity and certainty throughout the development process for projects that support the Port’s economic and community development objectives.”

The 70-acre Spencer Creek Business Park will support a mix of light industrial, office, commercial and retail uses including:

  • Light industrial
  • Commercial/retail
  • Hotel
  • Convenience store
  • Dining

The Port successfully petitioned to annex its East Port properties including Haydu sports park and Spencer Creek Business Park, into the City of Kalama in 2014.  As a result, local city revenues should benefit from upcoming business and leasehold activity. The Port will finance public improvements including new sidewalks, road upgrades and habitat enhancements.

Preliminary work at Spencer Creek Business Park will go out to bid early 2018 and includes filling and grading, installation of storm water treatment systems, and road improvements to make way for new commercial development. While East Port will be built out over many years, business park construction and operational activities are projected to support more than 1,000 jobs and millions of dollars in new local economic activity.

“We fully expect the development of Spencer Creek Business Park to attract new commercial businesses to the region and provide more family wage jobs here,” said Wilson.  “Not only are we expanding recreational and employment opportunities, we’re offering first-rate facilities to draw visitors and investment from throughout our region and beyond.”

A competitive, driven and innovative team, Port of Kalama staff act as ‘Boots on the Ground’ for a growing community of businesses who have relocated or grown there—committed to customer service and helping developers and businesses thrive:

  • Experienced developers
  • Capital-rich entity with funding for partnership
  • Economic and environmental award-winning team
  • Right off I-5
  • Collaborative, business-friendly


The Port of Kalama celebrates an extensive list of environmental and economic awards and acclaim:

  • In 2015, Port of Kalama was named the Washington State Port of the Year—a distinct honor awarded for outstanding long-term vision, innovation and community collaboration to create jobs and improve quality of life—all things the Port was created to do.
  • The City of Kalama and Port together earned the 2014 Governor’s Smart Communities Award for their collaboration on planning the multi-use Spencer Creek Business Park property which is expected to boost the region’s available commercial property, economy and job opportunities.
  • The Port consistently wins the Pathways 2020 Community Champions Award for Economic Vitality, which awards organizations that excel at creating jobs, employee wellness, training, employable skills, new or expanding business, transportation, financial security, reducing poverty, and higher wages.

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