Ports form estuary alliance

The Port of Bremerton officially joined forces with Mason County’s Port of Allyn last week in an agreement both districts hope will help shape future development of the communities surrounding them.

Commissioners Bill Mahan, Mary Ann Huntington and Cheryl Kincer signed a resolution Thursday with their Allyn counterparts, creating a partnership that will “help shape an employment and recreation vision for the Hood Canal, Sinclair Inlet, and North Bay-Case Inlet estuary-to-estuary corridor” that links the two ports.

The partnership is the most recent step the districts have taken to bring their blueprint for regional planning — first announced last fall during a retreat that included presentations by consultants from Parametrix and Engineering Services Associates for an audience full of regional officials — to fruition.

Described by Mahan as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the plan will “envision the integration of land use, transportation, environmental stewardship, commerce and recreation along the corridor” between the ports, according to the resolution.

Identifying the primary mission of port districts as “promoting economic development,” the resolution also states that the two boards will work together to “help shape the vision and potential of the ... corridor for the benefit of the region and both Kitsap and Mason” counties.

Such a partnership was determined to be a necessary step in prior meetings between the ports, during which Parametrix consultant Peter Battuello told the commissioners that the next crucial step will be creating leaders to steer the project.

“There has to be a management body in place, since there are so many stakeholders with competing priorities,” Battuello said.

Mahan agreed, and suggested that all six commissioners sign either a resolution or an Interlocal Agreement, which would signify a “commitment to follow through.”

Last week’s resolution also identified the priorities of the ports’ partnership, which were listed as:

• identifying additional stakeholders and creating an organizational structure;

• establishing a common vision, mission and set of goals;

• establishing corridor boundaries;

• providing ongoing encouragement to governments to ensure adequate planning and implementing of the corridor vision;

• providing a resource for establishing public and government support; and,

• assist in identifying funding for future initiatives.

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