Port won't weigh fate of military gear

OLYMPIA - The Port of Olympia commission won't discuss military cargo at its Thursday night meeting with the Olympia City Council because recently elected port commissioner Jeff Davis is unable to attend.

The remaining port commissioners are set to get an update on the port’s East Bay redevelopment project, as well as the city’s comprehensive plan and shoreline master plan. A new date has not been set for when the two sides might discuss military cargo at the port.

Davis could not be reached Tuesday, but Executive Director Ed Galligan said meetings sometimes are difficult for Davis to schedule because he works nights at the Port of Longview.

The purpose of Thursday’s meeting originally was to bring the newly elected members of the commission and City Council up to speed on the issue of military cargo shipments, which has been controversial in recent years and has led to demonstrations and protests resulting in multiple arrests.

Drew Hendricks, the chief coordinator of the South Salish Military Convoy Watch, a group that alerts other activist groups about military shipments in the area, said he shared his displeasure about military cargo during the public-comment portion of Monday’s port meeting.

“I’m not for it, and at some point we have to say no,” Hendricks said Tuesday.

Barner said Tuesday that he supports bringing military cargo through the port, although he understands Hendricks’ viewpoint. Barner, too, says he opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he thinks the port has an obligation to support the armed forces and those who volunteer.

“It’s our job to be there and to assist them as they return from active duty,” he said. “Receiving military goods is part of that de-escalation.”

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403