Port of Portland (Oregon)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Port of Portland
Port of Portland Terminal 6.jpg
Marine Terminal 6
Country United States
Location Portland, Oregon
Opened 1891
Main imports Automobiles, steel, and limestone
Main exports Wheat, soda ash, potash, and hay
Annual cargo value US$14 billion

The Port of Portland is the port district responsible for overseeing Portland International Airport, general aviation, and marine activities in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area in the United States.

The Oregon Legislative Assembly created the Port of Portland in 1891.[1] The current incarnation was created by the 1970 legislature, combining the original Port with the Portland Commission of Public Docks, a city agency dating from 1910.[2]


In 1891, the Oregon Legislature created the Port to dredge and maintain a shipping channel from the city of Portland to the Pacific Ocean. Through the years, the Port acquired the Commission of Public Docks, which operated public-use docks in Portland Harbor, and they built Portland's first airport.[citation needed]

Today, the Port of Portland owns four marine terminals, including Oregon’s only deep-draft container port, and three airports. The Port manages five industrial parks around the metropolitan area, and they own and operate the Dredge Oregon to help maintain the navigation channel on the lower Columbia and Willamette rivers.[citation needed]

Portland Harbor in the early 1900s

The Port of Portland's administration was embroiled in questionable business practices in the early 1930s.[3] Port authorities, including James H. Polhemus, the general manager of the port from 1923–1936, were found guilty of mismanagement, both through conflict of interest and cronyism, as well as negligence, sale of equipment at lower than assessed prices, carelessness, and preferential treatment of some private shippers.[3] Much of the blame was because of discounted rates for using the port's dry dock.[3] Companies specifically named as beneficiaries of this graft were McCormick Steamship Company and States Steamship Company.[3] The investigating committee called for the resignation of Polhemus and other staff.[3]

On November 20, 1933, shortly after the commission found Polhemus and his staff guilty, professional auditor Frank Akin was found shot to death.[3] His murder was never solved, leading to many conspiracy theories.[3] In mid-December, the Port commissioners voted to reject the investigating committee brief, meaning Polhemus was exonerated.[3] Polhemus stayed with the Port for another three years before becoming a vice president at Portland General Electric.[3] MacColl summarized the events in 1979, saying this:

Executive director Bill Wyatt speaks at the Port of Portland lease signing ceremony for the Air National Guard base in 2013.


Port of Portland

The Port of Portland has been considered a regional government with jurisdiction in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties since 1973.[2]

Nine commissioners regulate the organization; they are appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. Each commissioner serves a four-year term and can be reinstated to the same post indefinitely. One requirement of commissioners is that, of the nine, two must live in each of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties while the remaining three are free to live where they choose.[4]

Commissioners elect the Port of Portland's executive director who oversees the daily operations of the port.

Commissioners meet monthly to discuss the policies of the Port of Portland.


Marine Terminals[edit]

Port of Portland from St. John's Bridge

Port of Portland's marine terminals are located outside the population center with nearby main line rail and interstate highways minimizing congestion for both rail and truck traffic. The Portland Harbor exports the second largest amount of wheat from the United States and the Columbia River system, including Portland, is third largest wheat export gateway in the world.[5] The Port is the fifth largest auto import gateway in the country, and the largest mineral bulk port on the U.S. west coast.

Marine terminals are located along the Willamette River and the Columbia River. Terminals are served by rail (Union Pacific and BNSF railroads), connecting interstates, and river barges. Around one thousand businesses and corporations are said to use the Port's marine facilities.[citation needed]

Over 17 million tons of cargo move through Portland each year. Twelve million tons of this cargo moves through the Port of Portland-owned and operated facilities.

Major exports include grain, soda ash, potash, automobiles, and hay; major imports are automobiles, steel, machinery, mineral bulks and other varied products.

Imports and exports at the Port of Portland total about $15.4 billion USD, annually.

The Port's terminal facilities (T-2, T-4, and T-5 are on the Willamette River; T-6 is on the Columbia River[2]):

Terminal T-2

  • 52.5 acres (212,450 m²)
    • Break Bulk
    • Bulk
    • Army Corps of Engineers

Terminal T-4

  • 261.5 acres (1.1 km²)
    • Liquid shipping
    • Mineral shipping
    • Auto shipping

Terminal T-5

  • 159 acres (643,450 m²)
    • Grain shipping
    • Minerals shipping
    • Warehouse/manufacturing

Terminal T-6

  • 419 acres (2.0 km²)
    • Cargo containers
    • Auto shipping
    • Steel
    • Break Bulk
    • Rail yard access and operation

Industrial/Business Parks[edit]

The Port of Portland owns several business parks in the Portland metropolitan area:

  • Swan Island Industrial Park and Port Center
    • 430 acres (1.7 km²)
    • 4.5 miles (7 km) north of downtown Portland
    • Rail access (Union Pacific)
  • Gresham Vista Business Park
    • 222 acres
    • Located XX miles from
    • Nine general industrial lots on 172 acres
  • Mocks Landing
    • 150 acres (607,000 m²)
    • Rail access (Union Pacific)
    • Near Swan Island Industrial Park and Port Center
  • Portland International Center
    • 458 acres (1.9 km²)
    • At Portland International Airport
    • Rail access (MAX Light Rail)
  • Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park
    • 75 acres (304,000 m²)
    • At the Troutdale Airport
  • Brookwood Corporate Park
    • 32 acres (129,000 m²)
    • At the Hillsboro Airport


The Portland International Airport (PDX) is owned and operated by the Port of Portland. It is the 30th busiest airport in the United States. The PDX capture region serves a population of more than 3.5 million people in two states (Oregon and Washington).

The airport offers scheduled nonstop passenger service flights to over 53 domestic destinations and 7 international cities. PDX served more than 15 million passengers in 2013, breaking the all-time passenger record of 14.7 million in 2007. The airport averages more than 230 scheduled passenger departures daily during the busiest travel seasons, and 13 different domestic and international passenger airlines serve PDX. Portland is also well-served by eight all-air cargo carriers.

PDX serves the commercial, passenger, transport needs of the Portland Metro area, while Hillsboro Airport, also owned by the Port, serves an integral part of the region's transportation system, providing well-maintained, financially viable general aviation facilities to businesses and residents of Washington County and beyond. The Port also owns Portland-Troutdale Airport which serves as a flight training and recreational airport with an increasing emphasis on business class capability.

The Port of Portland owned general aviation field Portland-Mulino Airport from 1988 until it was transferred to the Oregon Department of Aviation July 1, 2009.[6] The first airport operated by the Port of Portland was Swan Island Municipal Airport in 1927.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baker, Frank C. (1891). "Special Laws". The Laws of Oregon, and the Resolutions and Memorials of the Sixteenth Regular Session of the Legislative Assembly Thereof (Salem, Oregon: State Printer): 791. 
  2. ^ a b c Carl Abbott. "Port of Portland (Oregon)". The Oregon Encyclopedia. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN 0-9603408-1-5. 
  4. ^ Port of Portland - Commission Information
  5. ^ Port of Portland web site
  6. ^ http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm/sms/fis09/bsb5504ajwm06-05-2009.pdf

External links[edit]