Ports 101

Washington State is host to the largest locally controlled public port system in the world with 75 port districts. Washington is also the only state in which ports are governed by publicly-elected officials.

Learn more about ports in Washington State (PDF)
Port districts, like the Port of Olympia, are unique local governments. Their primary mission is to promote economic development, and they have broad authority to achieve this.

 “Create economic opportunities by connecting Thurston County to the world by air, land, and sea.”

-Port of Olympia Mission Statement

Ports can build and operate airports, marine terminals, marinas, railroads, and industrial parks. In addition, ports can lease public property for commercial activities, create public amenities to provide recreational opportunities, and stimulate tourism.
Ports are also involved in substantial environmental restoration projects, cleaning up polluted properties from the industries of generations past.

Washington State laws pertaining to the establishment, authority, and governance of ports are located in Title 53 of the Revised Code of Washington.
Port of Olympia

Port of Olympia was formed in 1922. The Port is funded by revenues from its business operations, grants, bonds and a property tax levy collected from throughout all of Thurston County.

The Port can use tax revenues to invest in infrastructure such as roads, utilities, and stormwater treatment facilities to attract industry and business opportunities, both locally and abroad, to create jobs, and to generate revenue for the region.
The Port’s business enterprises are more diverse than trade promotion, industrial development, and the operation of intermodal facilities to support the movement of freight. The Port’s Vision 2025 Strategic Plan outlines its 4 lines of business activities.

4 Lines of Business Activities
1. Marine Facilities
Marine terminal consisting of a complete
break-bulk/container yard, log export facility, on-dock rail, on-dock warehouse and 3 deepwater berths for ocean-going vessels.
Sailboats parked at a marina
2. Port of Olympia Marina
Marina and Boatworks: Swantown Marina and Boatworks is a full service public harbor located at the southern end of the Puget Sound in Olympia. The facility includes a 733-slip marina, along with a state of the art haul-out and boatyard facility.

3. Airport
Olympia Regional Airport is a general aviation public airport offering aircraft service and maintenance operations, flight instruction, hangars and tie down space, state and corporate aviation facilities, and land and buildings available for lease for aviation-related use.

4. Commercial & Industrial Properties
the port provides a variety of options for developers and companies wanting to locate or expand their business in the Thurston region. Tumwater properties feature the New Market Industrial Campus (NMIC) and the Tumwater Town Center for retail / commercial and industrial development opportunities.

Some of the tenants located in the NMIC and the Tumwater Town Center include:
  • Comfort Inn Conference Center and Guest Suites
  • Windfall Lumber
  • International Wood Products
  • The Airport Golf and Batting Center
  • Timberland Regional Library
  • Washington State Employees Credit Union
  • Washington State Office of the Attorney General
  • Tumwater School District
  • Forever Powder Coating
Tenants located in downtown Olympia include:
  • Anthony’s Homeport and Hearthfire Grill Restaurants
  • Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Company
  • KGY Radio Station
  • Olympia Farmer’s Market

Please Take Note: This planning process pertains to the port's 4th line of business. A series of studies will evaluate future land use, activities, and service opportunities for port-owned commercial and industrial real estate within the City of Tumwater.