by Larry Crockett, Executive Director

A number of you have approached me asking questions about the Port’s Strategic Plan, and possible changes to that Plan that have been discussed at recent public Port Commission meetings. I’d like to take a moment to bring everyone up to speed on where we are, and where we are going with the Plan.

Earlier this year, the Port Commission held a series of public retreats that were designed to improve working relationships in the Commission itself, as well as between the Commission and staff. In the course of those retreats, some of the Commissioners expressed a desire to modify the Port’s mission statement to clarify the Port’s work. Those discussions evolved into explorations of a few elements of the current Strategic Plan. Since the current Commission wasn’t seated during the creation of the Plan in 2010, there was a desire to make a few minor modifications to the plan to give the current Commission a greater sense of ownership of the document.

At this point, these discussions – all held in public meetings – are just that, discussions. No changes have been made, and no decisions are pending.

The current Strategic Plan still guides our work, and the assumptions underlying the Plan still apply. The changes discussed by the Commissioners are, in my opinion, relatively minor. We’re not talking about creating a new Plan, nor is anyone proposing major change.

However, we strongly believe that changes to core planning documents are best made with input from the public. Much of our recent discussion has involved how best to structure a process to get public input about the proposed changes. Some folks want a broad public outreach with Town Hall-style meetings, and others advocate a smaller advisory committee approach. There is not a consensus on this yet, so the Commission will continue to deliberate on these issues for some time to come.

As always, you are encouraged to attend the Commission’s meetings to add your voice to the discussion. Read meeting minutes, listen to the recordings of meetings on your own schedule. Subscribe to the website to get updates automatically sent via email.

No matter how it is ultimately decided to structure the public process, you can be certain that the opportunities for input will be significant.

Finally, I have heard some folks mention that the Port is under a statutory requirement to create a new Strategic Plan. That is incorrect. We are under no obligation at all to produce a Strategic Plan – however, with scarce resources, and significant capital and resource needs, we think having a Plan is important.

Please feel free to reach out with questions at any time.