Changing the Culture of Secrecy: Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the Port Commissioners improperly discussed matters of public concern behind closed doors when they signed the lease for the largest rail-to-marine oil terminal in the country. I believe the Port should operate transparently and be accountable to taxpayers. The Port of Vancouver should not only listen to the public, but should also work closely with the City of Vancouver, our school system, and first responders. Those relationships are extremely important to keeping the Port of Vancouver on course.
Twenty-first Century Jobs: The Port of Vancouver is not having difficulty finding tenants. This means that there is no reason for the Port to bring in jobs that conflict with other community goals, such as the multi-billion dollar Vancouver Waterfront Development that promises thousands of permanent jobs & long-term economic benefits. If approved by Jay Inslee, the oil terminal would be placed right next to this development, surely inhibiting the Waterfront Development’s potential and partially negating any economic potential provided by the terminal as well. The Port should focus on bringing in jobs that provide value to this community without the social, health, & environmental risk that comes with an oil terminal, which could include but is not limited to a grain terminal, roll on roll off freight, wind energy components, auto import or export, or other safe uses. We should be building light industrial and warehousing facilities at other areas at the Port district, with emphasis on apprenticeships and prevailing wage enforcement. Good jobs make for a strong local economy.
The Environment: Everything we have is derived from the natural environment around us. It’s our responsibility to leave invaluable natural resources such as the Columbia River & Vancouver Lake better than we found it for our grandchildren and their children. Too often, the Port of Vancouver has made decisions without considering the economic impact of environmental damage, and therefore the true costs of their policies were not considered. As your Port Commissioner, I will always consider environmental impact when making decisions, because without a healthy environment, we cannot have a healthy economy.
Cultivating the Next Generation: As Chair of the Battle Ground School District Auto Advisory, I understand the importance of partnerships between our schools and private sector companies as well as government organizations. If elected, I will strengthen the partnership between the Port of Vancouver and Clark County high schools to help create a pathway for these young folks to get involved at the Port in various roles, including apprenticeships. One day, they will be running the Port, and as Port Commissioner, it would be my job to ensure the health of the Port of Vancouver by getting these future owners of the Port involved now.
Safety: Safety will be one of my top priority at the Port of Vancouver regardless of what the issue is. It’s worth noting, however, that Port Commissioners have little control over safety outside the confines of Port property, and have limited options over safety within tenant facilities. This is a fact that must be taken into consideration when bringing in new tenants at the Port of Vancouver; how will this affect rail traffic in areas which we have no control, and what is the safety record of the tenant. Pushing that responsibility off on to other organizations or companies is a disingenuous way to make policy at the Port, and exposes our community & our environment to unnecessary risk. This is a large reason that the Vancouver Firefighters have endorsed this campaign, because they understand that our Port plans to expose Vancouver & many other communities along the railroad to a risk that they are simply not equipped to handle.
Spreading the wealth: Our ports work for us by investing in our community and building the local economy. Everyone in the Port District pays the Port tax, and the Port is empowered to build job-driving facilities throughout the greater Vancouver area. As your Port Commissioner, I will place a new focus on developing land outside of Port property & away from the Columbia River that will provide much-needed economic benefit and jobs to the East & Northeast Vancouver area, while also helping to fund their schools by creating a healthy, varied tax base.