The Port of Kalama will celebrate its Centennial Birthday in 2020 and we’d like you to be a part of the story!
In the Spring of 2020, we will all celebrate the Port of Kalama’s rich history and unique place in the Kalama community as well as in the Pacific Northwest—we invite you to be a part of that story!
Did you grow up here? Did you work here? Or do you know people who work—or worked—at the Port or in Port industries? Do you have old photos, images, memories, news stories and clippings, or know of stories that helped shape the Port’s past, current events and even possibly its future? We’d love to hear from you!
We invite you to log on to this link to upload images that you think may help us tell the story of the Port of Kalama and celebrate our extraordinary place here on the Columbia River.
The Port of Kalama is born.
On March 17, 1920, the people of Kalama voted to establish the Kalama Port District with Hite Imus, J. G. Gruver, and F. L. Jenkins as the Port’s first commissioners. On April 21, 1920, the three commissioners met for the first time in the law office of J.E. Stone. In order to secure the funding they needed for port improvements, the commissioners proposed that the Port sell bonds.
In a special election on December 14, 1920, Kalama overwhelmingly approved the sale of bonds, 225 votes to six votes against. Using money borrowed through the sale of bonds at 6 percent per annum, the commissioners purchased six city blocks on the waterfront on the northern edge of town for $27,000. They then used an additional $55,000, to construct a dock at the foot of Kingwood Street, which had already become to some extent industrial area. The Port of Kalama is born!
The Port of Kalama enjoys a rich history that weaves through time along waterways, railways and roadways to drive home why transportation continues to be the community’s mainstay today. Long before the Port became a Special Purpose District in the State of Washington, the Columbia River attracted a steady stream of settlers like namesake Hawaiian John Kalama who arrived in Kalama in 1837 to act as a middleman between local Cowlitz Tribe and the Hudson Bay Company. In 1870, the Irish and Chinese arrived to work on the railroad. The Scandinavians with interests in fishing and logging settled in Kalama as well.
Progress continued; and today highway, rail and water meet in Kalama at some of the most efficient transportation networks in the country. Kalama’s particular landscape gave birth to a booming transportation system impacting the area both culturally and economically—ultimately transforming the area into its position today as an internationally-connected community. Much of what made Kalama replete and thriving in the past, still holds true today. Kalama remains an ideal place to do business just 30 minutes from international air travel in Portland, Oregon.
For a more on the history of the Port of Kalama, visit History of the Port of Kalama.