Port of Port Angeles director talks of 100 years into future

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles is looking ahead to the next 100 years of expansion and new ventures while standing by its core businesses, Executive Director Paul Jarkiewicz told the Port Angeles Business Association.

“The port just celebrated its centennial,” Jarkiewicz said Jan. 16. “We’re now moving to the next one.”

In January 1923, port commissioners met for the very first time, a few months after county voters overwhelmingly approved in November 1922 the creation of a port district that would raise revenue and improve waterfront infrastructure.

That mission has not changed, Jarkiewicz said.

“We’re economic drivers for the community,” Jarkiewicz said. “We want to try to establish the ability for businesses to come to the area to provide services to the community and to also operate the various infrastructure that is needed to allow those businesses to operate.”

The timber industry has remained central to its role, he said.

“Forest products create 879 direct jobs in Clallam County alone, 659 indirect jobs and 367 induced jobs [those created by the spending of the direct and indirect employees],” Jarkiewicz said. “That’s a total of 1,904 jobs and a $61.5 million economic impact locally.”

During the past nine months, the port has been seeking designation as a foreign trade zone to create value for its current tenants and attract new ones.

“The port is a port of entry for the United States, and as such, we’re entitled to have a foreign trade zone,” Jarkiewicz said. “There’s a lot of manufacturers here — BRIX Marine being one of them and Stabicraft being another — bringing in raw materials and putting out end products” that could potentially benefit from deferring costs related to tariffs.

The port is in the process of preparing for construction at the 18-acre Marine Terminal located on the former site of K Ply — also known as PenPly and Peninsula Plywood — on Marine Drive. Much of the $18.4 million cost is covered by grants, Jarkiewicz said.

The $7.3 million upgrade of runway 09/27 at William R. Fairchild International Airport was completed last fall, and the port is constructing new hangars to meet a growing demand across Western Washington.

It is unlikely the port would renovate runway 13/31, the short crosswind runway that is only used in the daytime, because the Federal Aviation Administration is unlikely to fund the project, Jarkiewicz said. When the runway eventually closes, it will open up about 30 acres the port can develop for other revenue-generating use.

The port is also looking to expand its two industrial parks off of 18th Street adjacent to the airport, where Composite Recycling Technology Center, Bar Hop Brewery’s production facility and Stabicraft are located.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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