Does the Port drive economic health?
What is the connection between the income the Port of Grays Harbor generates and the economic health of Grays Harbor? The Port claims to be a major economic engine of the county, but what is this claim based upon?
According to World Port Source (ww.worldportsource.com), in 2010 the Port exported over $1 billion worth of foreign trade and almost $5 million worth of imports. In the past three years since that report, Port activity has increased so it is likely that the value of those imports and exports is even greater. Yet Grays Harbor continues to languish as one of the highest, if not the highest percentage of unemployed and is consistently designated a depressed county.
So, where is the connection? Where does the money go? The Port does provide some jobs, but it does not seem to impact or improve the daily lives of most Harborites. How do we benefit from the billions of dollars that seem to change hands?
Decisions made by the Port do impact us, but not always in positive ways. In the balance, I believe some of the decisions they make lack foresight and ignore the majority of the people in favor of a relatively few who will gain from their decisions. There seems to be little forethought with decisions made in isolation. The Port works in the shadows and moves forward on projects without consideration of long-term consequences, and without any input from the citizens who are levied taxes to help support the Port.
There needs to be a new direction for the Port that will truly improve the quality of life and positively drive the economic health of Grays Harbor for all of us, not just a few. We need to bring citizen involvement into our Port activities. We need to shine a light on the Port of Grays Harbor. We need to elect Ron Figlar-Barnes as Port Commissioner.