We at the Port of Edmonds were greatly saddened when former Port Executive Director Chris Keuss passed away late last week.
Chris was a dedicated, capable professional, who led the Port of Edmonds through a very challenging time in its history. He served as deputy and later executive director during the period when the port rebuilt the marina after it collapsed in a snow storm in 1996, and during the acquisition and subsequent environmental cleanup of Harbor Square.
His ability to calmly handle difficult situations, stay firm in carrying out commission policy, and maintain wise and steady counsel were major reasons for the port’s success during his tenure. His ability to pull people together, build consensus, and proactively undertake the projects that made the port and city a better place, earned him the great respect of his commissioners, the residents of the port district and greater Edmonds, and the federal, state, and local agencies that oversaw the progress and completion of these projects.
His dedication and successful pursuit of grants and federal funds culminated in the reconstruction of what had been an aging marina into the best marina in Puget Sound. In fact, due largely to his efforts, the Port of Edmonds marina was named national Marina of the Year by a major marine services publication in 2006. Chris also presided over the initiation and development of the Destination Port of Edmonds program that still brings thousands of visitors a year to the waterfront and downtown businesses in Edmonds.
Through all of this, Chris always valued the people who worked for him. He was their champion. His kindness and his concern for port employees and their families was evident in his management style and in his daily life. Chris was a leader that every community needs but rarely gets.
Chris loved Edmonds and worked hard on behalf of our community. Edmonds is a better place because of his efforts and accomplishments.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Chris’ wife Judy, his family and his many friends on the occasion of his passing. We will miss him, but we will always remember him with great appreciation and respect for what he meant in our lives.
Rest in Peace, Chris.
— By Steve Johnston
Port of Edmonds Commissioner