Answered Prayers

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praying handsOn a recent trade mission to China, Tacoma Port Commission President Clare Petrich stopped at a shrine with a tree where visitors can post prayer offerings. She wrote one and hung it up, “praying for the success of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.”

Petrich’s prayer was amazing for at least two reasons. First, there is not much precedent for Tacoma interceding on behalf of Seattle in prayer or anything else (or vice versa). More amazing still, Petrich’s prayer is so far bearing fruit.

The ports announced October 7 that they are pursuing a new Seaport Alliance that would unify their marine cargo operations. Instead of competing with each other for marine business, the two ports would collaborate to divvy up the pie and, hopefully, attract new business to Puget Sound.

While the proposal focuses on marine cargo, the alliance could open the way for Seattle and Tacoma to team up on other issues. The two largest port districts in the state, Seattle and Tacoma face many of the same challenges involving environmental cleanup and freight infrastructure that require better coordination with state and federal leaders.

“We want to do a better job serving the public and not waste resources,” said Petrich.

At a recent meeting with commissioners from both ports, Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant told his colleagues that, with the alliance, “There is a new ‘us.’ ”

Details of the alliance proposal will be discussed Tuesday, October 28, at the monthly meeting of the Manufacturing Industrial Council, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College.

The presentation will be provided by MIC co-chair Linda Styrk, the seaport manager for the Port of Seattle. The briefing will begin about 3:45 p.m.

The meeting will be in Room C-122 in the Gene J. Colin Education Hall. Colin Hall is at the southwest corner of the campus. Enter the parking lot at 6737 Corson Avenue. RSVP to Tory Gering at

Other items on the Oct. 28 agenda include a report by the Association of Washington Business about potential proposals for new state climate policies; updates by attorney James Tupper about water quality issues, and a presentation by staff from the City of Seattle about the Freight Access Project.

Questions? Call 206-762-2470.