A “historic day” for the Port of Seattle Commission – with Commissioners Toshiko Grace Hasegawa and Hamdi Mohamed taking office today, the commission has its first People of Color majority. The five-member commission’s other POC member, Sam Cho, was elected today as commission vice president, while Ryan Calkins will serve as president, and Hasegawa as secretary. Calkins was the only incumbent re-elected in November; the other two who were on the ballot were defeated by Hasegawa and Mohamed. The two new commissioners spoke to news media this morning, before the commission’s regular monthly meeting. Hasegawa said it’s “our responsibility to address the generations of environmental harm,” while Mohamed voiced priorities including “addressing the root causes of the supply-chain crisis.” We asked both about how they plan to be more accessible to their constituents (commissioners are elected in a countywide vote). Mohamed promised “listening sessions, town halls” and a “boots on the ground” presence in the community, while Hasegawa promised to be “authentically engaging” and to work to close the “equity gap.” Both also spoke of advocating for a new generation to join the maritime workforce, which is facing a ‘silver tsunami,” as Hasegawa put it, of retirements.
The imminent opening of cargo operations at Terminal 5‘s first modernized berth in West Seattle (with the first ship calling later this week, as we ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>first reported Monday) was briefly mentioned – Hasegawa called it “exciting,” while Calkins described it as one of the “investments we’e been making (that) are starting to pay off.” During the commission meeting this afternoon, port executive director Steve Metruck noted that the first phase of T-5 construction officially concluded just last week.