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Strategic Planning Sessions Set Port’s Future Direction

May 18, 2017

Burlington –A strategic plan summary adopted by the Port of Skagit Commissioners at a regular meeting on May 9 allows the Port to continue leading efforts to build a strong economy in Skagit County. The Port’s Strategic Planning sessions were held April 12 and 19.

Port strategies for the coming year include working toward building a community-wide dark fiber optic backbone from Anacortes to Concrete, moving forward with plans to develop an innovation and clean technology campus in Sedro-Woolley, and improving several Port facilities. Port staff also provided an overview of the Port’s long-term plan of finance.

“Here at the Port, we are just getting started,” said Port of Skagit Commission President Steven Omdal. “Building successful public-private partnerships is key to our success and I look forward to what we will accomplish together in the coming months.”

Major outcomes of the strategic planning sessions include:

Build a Community Fiber Optic Backbone

A Community Fiber Optic Network Strategic Plan has been completed by a partnership of the Port of Skagit, Skagit County, and Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC). The Commission authorized Port staff to continue efforts to work collaboratively with local municipalities to construct the backbone. For more information about the county-wide effort, please see Skagit County Community Fiber Optic Network Strategic Plan.

Sedro-Woolley Innovation For Tomorrow (SWIFT) Center Property Transfer

In December 2016, the State of Washington reached an agreement with the Port of Skagit to transfer real property known as the North Cascades Gateway Center – formerly the Northern State Hospital – to begin development of an innovation and clean technology campus in Sedro-Woolley.

The $5 million, 225-acre acquisition is needed to begin redevelopment of the site, now called the Sedro-Woolley Innovation For Tomorrow (SWIFT) Center. The Port estimates redeveloping the property could create between 600 and 1,000 new sustainable, community-wage jobs in the region during the next 10 to 20 years.

The Port Commission took an important procedural step toward making the plan a reality this week when it formally gave direction to Port staff to continue to move forward with June 30, 2018 as the date to transfer the entire property. The Port will continue to work closely with the state Department of Enterprise Services and other government partners to ensure a smooth transition as part of the ongoing collaborative process.

“This is an important step in the process,” said Omdal. “And as a result of our Strategic Planning session and recent collaborations with the State, we found that transferring the property at one point in time will allow for a more streamlined process and create operational efficiencies for both entities.” 

For a complete summary of the Port’s Strategic Planning sessions, please visit

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email