Thurston County's Economic Partner



With changing world markets for wood products and a decline in log shipping in the early 1990s, the Port of Olympia redoubled its efforts to diversify its business base.

The port’s third major comprehensive planning effort, begun in 1992, was completed in 1995 after hundreds of hours of work by Port Commissioners, staff, labor union representatives, customers, tenants and citizen volunteers from Thurston County. The result was a visionary mission statement and clear goals for the new millennium emphasizing diversification and the strengthening of core Port businesses.

Business Success

In the late 1990s, the Port experienced success in all its businesses – NewMarket Industrial Campus in Tumwater, Swantown Commercial Properties in downtown Olympia, Swantown Marina and Boatworks, the Olympia Regional Airport and the Marine Terminal.

In 1997, there was a surge in Marine Terminal activity as Sunmar Container Lines moved its Pacific Northwest / Russian Far East terminal from Seattle to Olympia in May, and a variety of project cargoes as well as wood products were shipped to international destinations.

Economic Downturn

The severe economic downturn in Russia and Asia in 1998 significantly impacted West Coast ports however, and the Port of Olympia was no exception. In the fall of 1998, Sunmar was forced to close its Olympia operation. Log and other cargo volumes also decreased. The Port was committed to pursuing diverse business opportunities for the Marine Terminal in 1999.

Vision, and the ability to diversify its property uses to meet changing market conditions, have been hallmarks of the Port of Olympia since 1922. The Port is well prepared to continue its role as Thurston County’s economic partner into the next century.