On November 4, 1958, an election held in conjunction with the general election approved the establishment of a port district in Whitman County to be known as the Port of Whitman County. There were 6,653 votes cast in favor of the district and 2,503 votes against. On November 20, 1958, the County Commissioners established a Port District in Whitman County.

The people of Whitman County formed the Port for three specific purposes:

  • Provide access to slack water navigation on the Columbia/Snake River system
  • Promote industrial development
  • Provide recreational opportunities on the Snake River

The first meeting of the Port was held on January 15, 1959, in the County Commissioners’ room in the Courthouse. The Port Commission (having been duly elected to the position the previous year) elected D. I. Hopkins as President, Walter N. Nelson as Vice President and Lawrence Hickman as Secretary. There have been only 15 commissioners since 1959, providing the Port with continuity and strength of leadership.

Actual development and improvement of the on-water sites began in 1969 at the Port of Almota. Since then, Port of Central Ferry, Port of Wilma, Boyer Park & Marina, Pullman Industrial Park and Port of Whitman Business Air Center have been constructed. Today, the Port continues to deepen its economic impact by investing in various types of infrastructure, from transportation to telecommunications.

For more information on the Washington State port industry, visit this HistoryLink page.

Port History Media Gallery

First Port Comprehensive Plan Cover - 1966
Neil Klemgard 1st Port Manager
1st Deed - 1969
Port of Central Ferry - 1970
Anti Dam Advertisement - 1971
Hopkins Re-Election - 1971
Almota - Black and White
Boyer Dedication - 1972

Past Commissioners

Lawrence Hickman – 1959 to 1967
D I Hopkins – 1959 to 1977
Walter N Nelson – 1959 to 1981
Donald Dorman – 1967 to 1974
John Henley – 1974 to 1978
Edwin Andrus – 1978 to 1997
Gerald J Druffel – 1981 to 1999
R P Heglar – 1977 to 1995