Would you support one port district instead of 13?


Kitsap County has 13 port districts and holds the distinction of having the most by far of any county in the state.

I’m in the process of getting to know each one, seeing what it does, and asking whether any gains would be had by some of them consolidating.

How do you feel? If there fewer port districts, or even one all-county port district, would the promotion of economic development and job creation be better served? Could more be done in this area if the ports all pulled together? Could the resources be gathered to turn Bremerton National Airport into a regional airport with a commuter airline? Or maybe develop the rail tie at the Port of Bremerton to ramp up the commerce coming into or going out of Kitsap?

Or do small port districts provide an important identity for their communities, a sense of pride. Are they most efficient?

Tell me your thoughts. Here or contact me. Leave your name. You insights may be used in my stories.


Rachel Pritchett, reporter
(360) 475-3783

8 thoughts on “Would you support one port district instead of 13?

  1. I suspect Port District autonomy matters far less to the citizens than it does to the politicos and bureaucrats currently profiting. These are unlikely to give up their fiefdoms; even if doing so would be beneficial to the community as a whole.

  2. I live in Silverdale and am part of the Brownsville port district. Even though a port district does not personally benefit me, I would rather pay $40-$50 a year to support it than to be a resident of Seabeck or Port Orchard and forced to pay $150 to the Bremerton Port District.

    Those taxed out residents have to fund the Harborside Marina, the airport and the SEED/SKIA investment endeavors. The residents of the small Waterman and Tracyton port districts enjoy not being part of the Bremerton Port District, as do all residents of the other port districts. If the port districts had to merge, I would trust the county running things over a unified port district because their would be less overlap and overhead. If this were to happen Bremerton would dominate the other districts. Just look at how the Port of Seattle operates and spends their resources.

    I support a regional Kitsap airport since I deal with government travel at Bangor, and the potential volume is there. However there used to be a short 17 minute flight to Sea-Tac in the 70’s and it was discontinued due to its close proximity to Bremerton.

    A better option would include having regional daily service to Portland and SLC with 2-4 flights a week to Vancouver, Victoria, LA, SF, LV, SD, DEN and HNL. I think this venture could be just as successful as the Bellingham Airport. It could draw additional Tacoma passengers, just as Bellingham draws in Vancouver traffic for easier US connections.

    These flight options could save the military with travel expenses. The Kitsap airporter and duty vans currently have to shuttle passengers 60-65 miles each way. The airporter is a reliable service as it runs every hour. They are more dependable than the ferry system. If the airport could receive federal grants from Norm Dicks and Patty Murray, like John Murtha received for Johnstown, PA then there are plenty of possibilities.

  3. I would not support the consolidation of ALL port districts, but I would support the consolidation of SOME port districts.

    For instance, Kingston, Indianola and Eglon. The Port of Eglon has a massive (geographically) taxing district compared to the Port of Kingston with little facilities to support other than the small gravel boat launch and toilets there. The Port of Kingston has a park, marina, parking lots, boat launch and, the SoundRunner ferry but the taxing area for the PoK only has 3,000 people.

    Residents in the PoE and PoI use the PoK facilities far more then the Pok residents use the PoE’s or PoI’s.

    Consolidation of these three ports (with an expanded 5 Commissioner Board instead of 3 for each) would greatly expand the tax base for the PoK and help them keep necessary services going or improving.

    At the public meeting about the SoundRunner, one of the concerns voiced by PoK residents is that the 3,000 of them may be asked to support a service through taxes that many outside their district end up using. I’m not a PoK tax payer, I own a business in the PoK district, but I live in the PoE taxing district.

    In addition, Ports do have the authority to have their own law enforcement officers under RCW 53.08.280 if they have an airport or are considered a port of entry by the Federal Government.

    If a consolidated “Port of North Kitsap” could be created, perhaps there is a method to attain this status so that we can have more than 1 KC Sheriff Deputy 3 days of the week to enforce the law in Kingston (and other areas covered by a larger port district).

    Parking enforcement alone could bring in a hefty revenue stream for the port.

    This consolidation would also allow for more residents in the North area who congregate in Kingston to have a say about what goes own in Kingston.

  4. Kitsap also has a lot more shoreline than most counties. While it makes a lot of sense to have coordination between the different port districts I think merging them all into one, effectively into Bremerton, would simply mean that all the outlying facilities would be neglected.

  5. Given the past history of PoB sandbagging the captive taxpayers, I would have to say no.
    Most recently, PoB has offered to fix Port Orchards boat launch. All Port Orchard has to do is give PoB the launch.

  6. I can just imagine the Port of Bremerton deciding that when they merge with other districts that sets the clock back for their ability to levy additional taxes, without voter approval. It is a “new” port district after all and the POB did use it two free passes already.

    I would not want the Port of Bremerton to merge with other port districts. As a voter and taxpayer in the Port of Bremerton I have seen first hand how the port has handled their business. I would not want to wish that on others. The 150% stealth tax increase for the Bremerton Marina was shock enough. The Port of Bremerton still requires the taxpayers to subsidize the operations of the business park, both marinas and the airport. Maybe ask this question when and if ever the Port actually becomes self sufficient and as long as taking on other districts in a merger does not affect bottom line. They are trying, and the staff works hard, but the ideas coming from certain quarters are not well thought out nor practical.

    Nice idea, but with 13 sets of opinions, 13 visions, and tens of thousands of taxpayers, it is not practical. Talk of mergers, how will South Kitsap fair when the merger with Bremerton Fire District is tried? That in itself may turn the taxpayers off of any talk of merger with anyone be it the ports, school districts, or other entities.

    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  7. Yes, Roger, the Port of Bremerton has exhausted (squandered) its (our) two Industrial Development District (IDD) levy opportunities. They should never have another opportunity to reach that deeply into unsuspecting peoples’ wallets. Especially, considering part of that (backroom) deal was to cede $10,000/year (forever!) of taxpayer money to the Suquamish Tribe (this strikes me as a clear cut case of “taxation without representation, but – alas – the people have no press to defend them).

  8. 13 fiefdoms, assume 3 commissions each making $18k plus a dozen support staff making average of $60k each, so that’s 13 fiefdoms costing us about $774,000/year (before taxes and benefits) or over $10million/year.

    It might not be a bad idea to considate them. That would leave $9million/year to do something good with.

    The problem being is who is going to be left in charge? The Port of Bremerton is a joke between their commisioners and the CEO unless you would rather have parks instead of businesses coming to your area.

    The Port of Bremerton also does not want a real airport. The rich fly boys like their personal airfield and lets be honest, Fred Salisbury doesn’t have a freaking clue on how to run an airport.

    While I think it would be great to have a TRUE airport and consolidating the ports, it would be a grave mistake that would only allow the greedy, corrupt people currently in place, to expand their empires.

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