It was a festive scene behind Anthony’s Restaurant Saturday as the Port of Edmonds pulled out the stops to celebrate 70 years of stewardship over the Edmonds Waterfront and adjacent properties.
Port Commissioners Angela Harris, Steve Johnston, David Preston and Jim Orvis were on hand to greet visitors and join in the festivities, which included free t-shirts, hot dogs, music and a classic car show.
Created by popular vote in 1948, the Edmonds Port District came into being as part of a move to manage the city’s waterfront, which was falling into a state of neglect and disrepair from its early 20th century heyday as an industrial/forest products powerhouse. Originally run by three commissioners, that number was increased to five in 2001.
By the end of World War II, the easily available local timber had already been cleared, and without these raw materials the waterfront mills began to cut back operations and close. By the time the last mill was shuttered in 1951, the waterfront had declined into a row of mostly vacant, abandoned and neglected buildings.
The port’s first priority was to acquire land for a boat harbor, and over the next 13 years, it worked diligently to purchase land for this purpose.
The port began construction of what was then called the Edmonds Boat Harbor in 1961. The South Marina was completed in 1962, the North Marina and breakwater in 1969, and the Mid Marina in 1983.
In addition to the marina, over the years the port has engaged in a variety of economic development projects, most notably the acquisition and development of the Harbor Square complex, completed in 1986.
Although the port and the City of Edmonds cooperate and partner on many common issues, the port is independent from the city. Governed by five elected commissioners and managed by a staff organization, the Port District includes almost half of the city of Edmonds and all of the town of Woodway. Its mission continues to be providing financial and environmental stewardship over the properties under its control.
Learn more at the Port of Edmonds website.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel