Port of Vancouver commissioners discuss draft strategic plan, vision

Port expects to present final strategic plan for consideration, adoption at Sept. 11 meeting

An updated draft of the Port of Vancouver USA’s strategic plan is now available online for the public to view. The port expects to present the final strategic plan for consideration and potential adoption on Sept. 11. Courtesy of Port of Vancouver USA

During a public workshop held Aug. 14, the Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners heard from Charla Skaggs, principal communications and outreach specialist with Maul Foster & Alongi, regarding the process of updating the port’s strategic plan.

During a previous workshop discussing the port’s strategic plan on Aug. 2, the port commissioners expressed interest in adjusting the port’s vision statement to reflect how the community could look if the port is successful in its mission, Skaggs said. She said some changes in the goals and strategies were also made to the plan after suggestions were made at the Aug. 2 workshop.

“You decided we’re not going to change the mission statement, and the values are also unchanged,” Skaggs told the commissioners during the Aug. 14 workshop. “Today we will be discussing the vision statement. We want that to reflect how the community will look once we are successful in accomplishing our strategic plan.”

The port’s current vision statement is: “A premier port that is globally recognized and well capitalized, with state-of-the-industry facilities, infrastructure and service providing accountable economic benefit.”

Skaggs presented the commissioners with four different examples of vision statements that had been crafted using feedback from the Aug. 2 workshop. The four different examples can be seen in the PowerPoint presentation from Aug. 14 here

The three commissioners – Don Orange, Eric LaBrant and Jerry Oliver – discussed what they liked or didn’t like about each of the four examples, and what pieces they would want to incorporate into a new vision statement. Oliver said he really liked the first example statement, although it was a bit longer than the other three.

“I like that it talks about the world of commerce that we’re connected to,” Oliver said. “Too many of us here (see) a much smaller view of what it is the port does. The fact is that this (port) supplies hundreds of good-paying jobs to our community, and not just the 120-140 longshoremen that are working, but so many others. This use of commerce is not as evident in the other three statements.”

LaBrant said he noticed the word “connection” coming out a lot within the four different example statements.

“It seems like a key theme; we’ve got a healthy environment, a vibrant and prosperous community, global economy and marketplace,” LaBrant said. “It seems like in a lot of ways, our role in that going forward is connecting all of those pieces. I like the idea of a short enough vision statement that one could potentially memorize and take it to heart, and even recite it from time to time.”

Orange expressed that he was happy with any of the four example statements as they were written, and stressed that the port does have an obligation to pay attention to the environment here.

After a bit more discussion, the commissioners agreed on a draft vision statement that reads: “Our port builds a community connected to a world of economic opportunity that supports a healthy environment, trade and living-wage jobs.”

The last comprehensive update to the port’s strategic plan was more than 10 years ago, and the port has seen numerous changes since then, including the completion of key initiatives; marine and industrial business growth; identification of new projects; and changes in staff and elected leadership.

The process of updating the plan has included the port engaging with commissioners, staff, tenants, citizens, stakeholders and community partners to develop a plan that “reflects the values and livability of our community; considers the needs of thousands of people who making their living through the port; emphasizes an ever-changing economic climate and local and international market opportunities; and observes the highest levels of environmental stewardship.”

The draft comprehensive strategic plan can be found on the port’s website. The draft plan will be open for public comment from Aug. 14 through Sept. 6. Public comments can be submitted at Board of Commissioners meetings, via email at communityfeedback@portvanusa.com and via mail at 3103 NW Lower River Road, Vancouver, WA 98660. Citizens can also contact their commissioner directly; contact information is available here

The next regular Board of Commissioners meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 28, 9:30 a.m., during which there will be opportunity for public comment. The port expects to present the final strategic plan for commission consideration and potential adoption at the Sept. 11 Board of Commissioners meeting.



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.