The Port of Illahee is located in Kitsap County, Washington, between the cities of Bremerton and Silverdale. The Port of Illahee is served by 3 commissioners, each elected to 6 year terms, with elections occurring every 2 years.  The commissioners are non-pay/non-partisan, but do receive stipends for meetings and port related work.

The Port’s mission is to foster and manage the economic development of the Port District and to maintain the pier and floats commonly called “Illahee Dock” at the foot of Ocean View Boulevard.



(Note: The following format and much of the information has been adapted from various sources.)

Updated August 3, 2016, November 11, 2017, January 15, 2018


The Port in the Community

What is a Port? How does it Governed? How is it Financed? How does it benefit the Area?

The following information is taken from the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The RCW is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force in Washington State. RCW Title 53 discusses Port districts. Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Title 332 and 458 also deals with Port districts.

What is a Port?

A port is a governmental municipality, similar to a city or county, whose purpose is to promote economic development.

The Legislature has given ports broad authority to do this. They can build and operate airports, marine terminals, marinas, railroads and industrial parks.

Recent legislation also gives ports the authority to develop tourism facilities and support   watershed restoration.


What is the history of Ports in Washington State?

In 1889, when Washington became a state, its constitution declared that the state’s navigable waterways belonged to the people.

In 1911, citizens lobbied for the right to control the waterfront. The Legislature passed the “Port District Act” which allowed the people to form a port district and elect commissioners to govern it.

The first port was created in Seattle in 1911.


How is a Port created?

For a port to be created, 10 percent of the registered voters residing in the proposed port district must sign a petition which is filed with the county auditor. The petition must describe the boundaries of the port district and establish how many commissioners will govern the port. It also must designate a name for the port. The county auditor then certifies the signatures, and if there are enough, a public hearing is held.

After the public hearing, the county submits a ballot proposition authorizing the creation of the port district to the voters at a special election. The port district is established if a majority of voters approve the proposition.

 The Port of Illahee was established by a vote of the people on May 20, 1922.


How is the Port Governed?

Port districts in Washington State are unique. They are governed by an elected commission, independent of state and local jurisdictions.

This means they are not under the control of the city, county or any other governmental agency.

Commissioners are elected to serve either four or six year terms.

If there are five commissioners, they hold office for four years. If there are three members of the commission, the term is six years.

Commissioners may hold either district-specific or at-large positions depending on port district policy.

The Port of Illahee has three Commissioners were elected from a specific districts until a proposition was passed in 2015 that eliminated commissioner districts.  Beginning in 2017 commissioners will be elected at large, with elections every two years.  Commissioners are elected for six year terms. They receive a stipend for each meeting they attend, the rate of which is set by the legislature. The current stipend rate is set at $114.  Approved meetings eligible for stipends are those regularly scheduled such as the  monthly Port meetings and the quarterly All Ports meetings, and those previously approved and noted in the meeting minutes.  Stipend or reimbursement requests for after-the-fact meetings or work must be presented in writing with an appropriate justification statement.

Commissioners can also be compensated for additional work performed on behalf of the Port in accordance with RCW 53.12.260.  Currently the Port of Illahee Dock Manager assignment, a Property Manager assignment, and Website/Public Records Officer are each compensated with an additional stipend.

The role of the Port Commissioners is to promote economic development by establishing long term strategies for the Port district in a “comprehensive scheme of harbor improvements” also referred to as a comprehensive plan. They also create policies to guide the development, growth and operation of the port. They are responsible for the port’s annual budgets, approving tax levy rates, and if required, hiring a port manager to perform the port’s daily functions.

The Port of Illahee issued Comprehensive Plans in 2006, 2010 and 2017.

Port Commissioners meet regularly, and follow the state’s open meeting laws established in 1971 by the Open Public Meetings Act or OPMA (RCW 42.30.030) and strengthened in 2014 with mandatory training requirements.  The Public Records Act (2005) or PRA (RCW 42.56) regulates for the handling of public records requests and was also strengthened in 2014 with mandatory training.  Port Commissioners are required to be trained 90 days after being elected and at intervals of no more than four years as long as they remain in office.

The Port of Illahee Commissioners regularly meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at a NEW LOCATION 9756 Ogle Road (lower level). 


The Port of Illahee meetings adhere to Open Public Meeting Act (OMPA) requirements.

The Port of Illahee, being a small port with few public documents, has adopted a Public Records Act Policy (in accordance with RCW 42,56.040) which is to post available public records on the portofillahee.com website thereby complying with the Public Records Act to make records requests readily available and publicly accessible to all.  


How is the Port Financed?

A Port district’s primary goal is economic development for its community, with the end result of job creation. Port Districts are able to finance long term investments needed for such growth with five different revenue sources: taxes, service fees, bonds, loans and grants.

Taxes: A Port district may levy taxes at the rate of 45 cents per $1000 assessed value on taxable property. Most ports use these funds for capital development / improvement of marine facilities, industrial parks and infrastructure.

Ports can also create and Economic Development District and levy an additional 45 cents per $1000 for a six year period.

The Port taxing rate was increased by $27,646 in 2011 (Resolution 2011-02) resulting in yearly levies of $79,646 beginning in 2012.  This equates to rate of 0.184209 per $1000 of assessed valuation in 2014, and varies slightly as assessed valuations change each year. 


Service Fees: When a Port district owns a facility, it typically leases it to a business or private individual and collects fees for the use of the building and land.  It can also collect fees for dockage and wharfage when ships dock on Port property. Fees can also be collected for marina use. Service fees can be used for Port Operations which include personnel costs, maintenance and upkeep.

The only service fees the Port of Illahee collects are the rents for two private residential homes owned by the Port.

Bonds: Ports may issue a variety of bonds such as corporate, extendable or retractable bonds but mainly they use municipal bonds to finance projects. Municipal bonds break down as general obligation, revenue, industrial development and assessment bonds. Bonds allow Ports to make major, long-term investments in infrastructure which will benefit a community for decades to come.

The following two types of bonds are generally used by ports as they can be issued without voter authorization:

1) General Obligation Bonds are issued to help fund capital improvement projects and are repaid with revenue from property taxes.

2) Revenue bonds, which are guaranteed by the revenues generated by Service Fees, can be used for acquisition, construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, additions and operations of port properties and facilities, including the cost of engineering, inspection, accounting, fiscal and legal expenses.

The Port of Illahee has no outstanding revenue bonds.

Loans: Ports may borrow money from financing institutions and other sources.

The Port of Illahee currently has an outstanding loan of with Kitsap Bank for the 5560 Ocean View property for $200,000 at 6.25% interest for 60 months.  The current loan value as of October 2014 is $187,315 and comes due on December 22, 2014 for payment in full or renewal (note that the loan was renewed with details to follow).

Leases:  The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 2.6 million acres of state owned aquatic lands, affecting most water dependent ports.  Lease agreements of various durations are required with the DNR for facilities extending out and over the state owned lands.

The Port of Illahee entered into a “without fee” lease agreement with the DNR on 5/11/88 (Interagency Agreement No. 20-008845) for a Term of 30 years beginning May 28, 1985 (the date noted in Section 1), meaning a new agreement may be required by 5/28/2015.  Further information on the lease can be found on the DNR page on this website.


Grants and Appropriations: Ports may also use grants or direct appropriations to support development. These grants come from a variety of sources including local, state and federal agencies.

The Port of Illahee was successful in obtaining a Centennial Clean Water grant in 2007 with a project start date of April 2007 and an end date of June 2011.

The value of the 2007 Department of Ecology grant was $181,000 ($268,000 total project) with the bulk of the Port’s contribution match of $87,000 being provided by an Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) grant with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and in-kind contributions of $44,000, resulting in a net grant cost of $43,000 to the port. The purpose of the grant was to improve the waters of Illahee Creek and Port Orchard Bay by supporting four specific tasks:  Basin Assessment and Surface Water Management Planning, Water Quality Monitoring, Riparian Planting, and Public Information and Education.  The Basin Assessment report prepared by Parametrix and Keta Waters Consulting, dated September 2008, can be accessed from the Port of Illahee’s website, as can the grant final report, dated June 2011, summarizing the other three grant tasks noted above.


How Does it Benefit the Area?


Ports, as governmental agencies, have been given broad authority to act by the Legislature to benefit their communities.  A summary of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) sections dealing with the authority of ports follows.

RCW 53.08.010 – Acquisition of property

A port district may acquire . . . all lands, property, property rights, leaseholds, or easements necessary for its purposes and may exercise the right of eminent domain . . . and may levy and collect assessments upon property for the payment of all damages and compensation in carrying out its purposes . . .


RCW 53.08.040 – Land improvement for industrial and commercial purposes

A district may improve its lands by . . . developing such lands for industrial and commercial purposes.


A district may also acquire, construct & operate sewer and water utilities & other facilities to control or eliminate air, water or other pollution – and make available to others.



RCW 53.08.50 – Local improvement districts

A district may establish local improvement districts & levy special assessments in up to 10 year annual installments on all property specially benefited by the local improvement on the basis of special benefit.


RCW 53.08.060 – Improvement of waters and waterways

A district may improve navigable and nonnavigable waters within the district and improve any water, watercourses, bays, lakes or streams, whether navigable or otherwise, flowing through or located within the district.


RCW 53.08.080 – Lease of property

A district may lease all lands, wharves, docks and real and personal property owned and controlled by it, for such purposes and upon such terms as the port commission deems proper.


RCW 53.08.110 – Gifts, improvement

Port commissioners are authorized to accept for the port district gifts of real land personal property and to expend in improvements and betterment such amount as may be necessary.


RCW 53.08.160 – Studies, promotion of facilities

Port districts may initiate and carry on necessary studies, investigations and surveys required for proper development, improvement and utilization of all port properties, utilities and facilities, and for industrial development within the district carried out by public agency, institution, or body for a public purpose – and for the proper promotion, advertising, improvement and development of such port properties, utilities and facilities.


RCW 53.08.240 – Joint exercise of powers and joint acquisition of property

Two or more port districts may jointly exercise all powers granted to each district, and may acquire jointly all lands & property necessary for their purposes.  A district may enter into any contract with the United States, or any state, county, or municipal corporation, or any department of those entities, for carrying out any of the powers that each of the contracting parties may by law exercise separately.



RCW 53.08.245 – Economic development programs authorized

It shall be the public purpose for all port districts to engage in economic development programs.  In addition, port districts may contract with nonprofit corporations in furtherance of this and other acts relating to economic development.


RCW 35.08.255 – Tourism promotion

Any port district has power to expend moneys and conduct promotion of resources and facilities in the district or general area by advertising, publicizing, or otherwise distributing information to attract visitors and encourage tourist expansion.


RCW 53.08.260 – Park and recreation facilities

Port district may construct, improve, maintain, and operate public park and recreation facilities when such facilities are necessary to more fully utilize boat landings, harbors, wharves and piers, air, land, and water passenger and transfer terminals, waterways, and other port facilities authorized by law pursuant to the port’s comprehensive plan of harbor improvements and industrial development.


RCW 53.08.295 – Passenger carrying watercraft

A port district may acquire, lease, construct, purchase, maintain, and operate passenger carrying vessels on interstate navigable rivers of the state and intrastate waters of adjoining states.


RCW 53.08.330 – Streets, roads

Any port district may expend port funds toward construction, upgrading, improvement, or repair of any street, road, or highway that serves port facilities.


RCW 39.33.060 – Transfer of property or use for park & recreational purposes

Any government unit (including port districts) may convey its real or personal property to, or contract for its use by, the county or park and recreation district for park or recreational purposes, by private negotiation and upon such terms and with such consideration as might be mutually agreed to by such governmental unit (port district) the board of county commissioners.