By McKenna Sweet
UW News Lab

On Feb. 27, 2024, the Port of Seattle held a regular Commissioner meeting both remotely via Microsoft Teams and in-person at Sea-Tac International Airport. The meeting was also live streamed on the Port of Seattle website.

The meeting began with members from Blacks in Government reading a proclamation to honor Black History Month. Marie Bell-Allen, chapter president, began the reading, followed by chapter secretary Karlina Smith. The proclamation emphasized the contribution of Black artists to Seattle culture, such as Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones. 

“The Port of Seattle Commission hereby proclaims February as Black History Month, [and] honors and commends the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement for Business Excellence awards for their commitment toward advancing equity for all,” Smith said. 

During the public comments section of the meeting, the commissioners heard from 13 people, two of which spoke over Microsoft Teams. Most speakers aired their support of Order 2024-04, which would address the problems residents have experienced with prior noise-mitigation retro-fits, known as Port Packages. 

Among those who spoke in support of the order were SeaTac mayor, Mohamed Egal, and the mayor of Des Moines, Traci Buxton. 

Beacon Hill resident Megan Slade (pictured above) also spoke of her support, as someone who lives under the flight path and has children who experience respiratory challenges. 

“Our airport-impacted communities want and deserve to be in healthy environments, and those who are most vulnerable especially are dependent on our leaders and our court that provide resources that address those health inequities,” Slade said. 

After hearing all public comments, clerk Michelle Hart read written public comments submitted to the commission, all of which echoed the support of Order 2024-04.

The commissioners then moved on to address the new business items for the meeting, which were Order 2024-04 and the adoption of the 2021 editions to Washington building codes. 

Legislative assistant Tyler Emsky described what Order 2024-04 would mean for residents and the Port Commission. The main goals of the order are to establish a Sound Insulation Repair and Replacement Pilot Program and corresponding program equity guidelines. The order also aims to set a timeline for the assessment for previously installed sound insulated properties. 

The commissioners passed the order unanimously, resulting in applause from the public present at the meeting. 

The next item addressed was item 10b, which proposed the adoption of the 2021 editions to Washington building codes. 

Pat Lawler, airport building department senior manager, presented what the codes were to the commissioners and their importance. According to Lawler, the pandemic and state lawsuits delayed the adoption of the 2021 Washington State Building Code, which normally updates every three years.

This item was also unanimously approved by the commission.   

Other items discussed during the meeting were the expansion of the Coast Guard vessel traffic service’s capacity to inform mariners about how to avoid whale conflicts, and comments from a member of the Port of Seattle aviation electric shop who talked about contract negotiations.

The next commission meeting will take place on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 in Woodinville and will not include an option for remote attendance.