Publicly requested Port of Olympia emails that have been shared with The Olympian show that port staff, including Executive Director Ed Galligan, have had regular conversations with Army personnel about bringing military cargo to the port.
And those emails identified September as a possible shipping date, including the week of Sept. 16-23.
Despite the email, Executive Director Galligan said as recently as last week that no shipments are expected through the end of the year.
“To the best of the port staff’s knowledge, there are no shipments of military cargo scheduled to move through the Port of Olympia for the remainder of 2016 and beyond; however, port staff continues to have conversations with the military as with all other potential customers.”
The emails were requested by Robert Gorrill of Olympia, who is working with Olympia Port Militarization Resistance. That’s the same group that was opposed to military cargo that passed through the port in late 2007. The emails were disclosed in a Olympia PMR news release, inviting those concerned about military cargo to gather at 4:30 p.m. Monday before the Port of Olympia commission listening session on military cargo.
Gorrill could not be reached Sunday.
After the planned vigil at 4:30 p.m., those who attend plan to speak during the military listening session. The listening session is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 19) at the Capital Event Center, 6005 Tyee Drive SW, Tumwater.
The emails show the following:
▪ March 29, 2016: After Galligan missed the March 28 Port of Olympia commission meeting, he explained to the commissioners that he had met with a Joint Base Lewis-McChord official: “There is good potential for the Port of Olympia to secure one or two military cargo shipments yet this year, roughly May and September time frames.”
▪ June 7, 2016: In an email to an Army official, the port’s Marine Terminal Director Len Faucher provided an update: “You had left it that the port should contact the local elected officials in order to ensure support and protection accordingly. The port’s upper management, executive director and commission have been actively engaging with the city of Olympia mayor, council members and staff, as well as other elected county officials, to discuss the need to exercise the port with military cargoes.”
▪ June 22, 2016: An Army official follows up with Marine Terminal Director Faucher: “Len, just one final note to confirm that you definitely have a green light from the city manager, and that planning of the redeployment of the MV Ocean Glory to the Port of Olympia on 16-23 Sept. can proceed. Do we need to have another meeting beforehand?”
The emails likely explain why former Olympia City Councilman T.J. Johnson was so adamant about a September shipping date. Johnson shared those views during a previous public meeting organized by port commissioner E.J. Zita. Commissioner Bill McGregor recently called Johnson’s comments inaccurate.
Zita, in an effort to be more transparent with the public and start the community conversation about military cargo, held two meetings on military cargo in July and August, but as a citizen, not as a commissioner.
She said Sunday she was familiar with the email of March 29, but was surprised to learn of the one that identified a specific week in September. She said she wants to discuss it with the commission during its work session at 2:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 22).