As Port Commissioner, John Creighton has been involved in many difficult decisions involving the Port of Seattle. At times, he’s endured fire from critics who claim that the Port is losing its soul and is crumbling to the needs of gentrification and a never-ending population boom. He’s also heard complaints from business leaders who want improved access to the port or else they will find neighboring communities who are willing to provide them with the access and government policies that they feel they need to operate. While listening to comment is part of any politician’s job, John Creighton feels that these sorts of comments are particularly hard to deal with, as they point to the crux of what the Port means to Seattle, and that meaning can vary from group to group.
In Seattle, the Port is a thriving business that brings both revenue and jobs into the community. Each container that comes into the Port represents an economic opportunity for Seattle, and that’s not an opportunity the region can afford to waste. According to a blog entry written by John Creighton, the state of Washington, the Port, King County, the city of Seattle and public and private interests have invested over $1 billion in infrastructure to support the industrial activities at the Port. Pushing out industry through gentrification means wasting these investments.
However, the Port provides some of the most sought-after real estate in Seattle, with stunning views of the water and amazing access to the hip and trendy parts of downtown. It’s no wonder that so many people want to live in this part of Seattle, John Creighton says, and it’s no wonder that businesses want to place restaurants, stadiums and other enticements there to make them stay.
The key is to make smart investments so that competing uses on the waterfront can co-exist, John Creighton says, to make good decisions on a case-by-case basis. This is what Port Commissioner John Creighton hopes to do in moving forward the Port’s Century Agenda, its 25-year plan to bring another 100,000 port-related jobs to the region.