Port Turning 90, Mayor Declares Port of Oakland Day

By The Maritime Executive 2017-02-10 16:01:26

Amelia Earhart, Jack London and megaships all part of rich history

Sunday will be Port of Oakland Day in this city.  Mayor Libby Schaaf declared the observance last night at a meeting of the Board of Port Commissioners.  She said the honor would commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Port’s creation, Feb. 12, 1927.

“What a moment to celebrate,” the Mayor said.  “What an incredible impact this organization has on the region, the nation and the world.”

The Mayor delivered her proclamation before a packed audience in the Port of Oakland Board Room.  The Port of Oakland Day declaration drew loud applause from employees, tenants and business partners.

Board President Michael Colbruno thanked the Mayor for the honor and expressed appreciation for her support.  Before entering politics, she served as Public Affairs Director at the Port of Oakland.

“Mayor Schaaf has been a champion of our work and we’re grateful for the close relationship we have at City Hall,” President Colbruno said.  "The Port of Oakland is the economic engine for Oakland and the region. We will continue to invest in its continued success and growth as we prepare for our centennial."

In a letter congratulating the Port on its 90th birthday, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, chose to look ahead.  “As the Port celebrates this milestone, the future is bright,” she said.

Among those attending the ceremony was retired Port Executive Director Charles Foster.  In 1995, Mr. Foster became the first African American to hold down the top spot at the Port.  “The most momentous experience of my life was my years at the Port of Oakland,” he said.

The Port of Oakland was created as an independent department of the City of Oakland.  It manages three principal businesses:

• The Port of Oakland, one of the nation’s top 10 container seaports;

• Oakland International Airport, the second busiest Bay Area airport; and

• A Commercial Real Estate portfolio that includes Jack London Square, the restaurant and entertainment district named after the famed adventure novelist who frequented the neighborhood.

The Port has profoundly influenced trade and transportation during its 90-year-history, Executive Director Chris Lytle said.  In a letter to government and industry leaders today, he highlighted its groundbreaking achievements.  “We pioneered Transpacific air travel and we brought container shipping to the West Coast,” he said.  “And we’re far from done – we’re transforming to upgrade our status as a global gateway.”

Mr. Lytle expressed pride in the Port’s role as a supply center for U.S. troops during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  He also pointed out its famous visitors, from legendary aviator Amelia Earhart to the megaship Benjamin Franklin, the largest container vessel ever to call at a U.S. port.

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