Port of Bellingham gets west coast redevelopment award

Published on Thu, Nov 13, 2003
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Port of Bellingham gets west coast redevelopment award

Just a few days after being selected as the only west coast port for an innovative new federal redevelopment program, the Port of Bellingham began getting calls from federal officials ready to start work on Bellingham projects.

Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that thePort of Bellingham has been selected as the best candidate on the west coast to demonstrate NOAA�s new model for revitalizing waterfront communities.

�The portfields initiative represents a multi-agency federal effort to partner with local communities to help revitalize their ports and improve our nation�s marine transportation system while restoring and protecting our coastal resources,� said retired Navy vice-admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.

Portfields is an innovative federal interagency project that will focus on the redevelopment and reuse of waterfronts with an emphasis on restoring important marine habitat. Bellingham�s selection was announced before an audience of about 4,000 attendees at the Brownfields 2003 conference �Growing a Greener America� in Portland.

�We are very pleased to be selected and the timing couldn�t be better,� said Jim Darling, executive director for the Port of Bellingham. �Our work with the Bellingham Bay Pilot Project and the Waterfront Futures Group, has earned us a reputation for our commitment to environmental stewardship in our waterfront revitalization projects. Portfields gives us an opportunity to move our community�s vision forward with the support of new federal partners.�

The Port of Bellingham is one of three ports in the country chosen to participate in Portfields. The ports were selected for their demonstrated commitment to waterfront revitalization, innovative approaches to facility planning and habitat restoration, and overall value in partnering with the federal agencies. The Port of Bellingham has proposed pursuing several redevelopment initiatives including restoration of the Squalicum waterway, redevelopment of the central waterfront and pursuit of innovative ideas generated through the Waterfront Futures Group process.

Under portfields, the participating agencies will provide targeted resources to help ports meet both community economic interests and environmental recovery goals within the working waterfront. While federal agencies currently participate on the Bellingham Bay work group, recognition under the portfields program is expected to bring a new level of national interest to the project.

�The Puget Sound Action Team offers its congratulations to the Port of Bellingham for being selected as a NOAA portfields pilot site,� said Brad Ack, chair of the PSAT and a member of the Bellingham Bay work group.��The Bellingham Bay project is an excellent model, and the Port�s contributions to these efforts have been outstanding.���

The portfields initiative is an outgrowth of the federal �Brownfields� program that was created in 1996.�Under Brownfields, more than 20 federal agencies participate in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated industrial property.�

Under portfields, NOAA and seven other federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Maritime Administration (MA) will focus on revitalizing port communities.�