As someone who attends most of the Port of Walla Walla's Economic Development Advisory Committee meetings I was taken back by Barlow Corkrum's comments during a Chamber-sponsored Port Commission debate. Mr. Corkrum commented the Port does not collaborate with other local agencies. He specifically stated the Port's contact with the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Walla Walla and like agencies is one hour every other month at the Port's Economic Development Advisory Committee meetings.
I am amazed how uninformed Mr. Corkrum is. I found this comment curious as it did not match my own observations so I did a little research.
The Port and the Chamber have been working together on the Fly Walla Walla First campaign. Their representatives traveled to Seattle together to meet with representatives of Alaska Airlines. They recently held a joint business luncheon to give local community leaders an update on enhancing air service in the Walla Walla Valley.
As it relates to Tourism Walla Walla, a Port staff member serves on the Board of Directors.
The Port in my view has done an excellent job in coalition building with local agencies. The U.S. Highway 12 coalition is recognized statewide for its public-private partnership working to four-lane Highway 12.
The Port has also been a leader in the recently formed Washington State Penitentiary Task Force. The Port committed the financial resources necessary to retain Dave Mastin during the last legislative session, which resulted in a $42 million capital appropriation to build more prison units in Walla Walla and save good paying jobs.
Those who want to be elected officials need to take the time to get their facts correct before making public statements. The idea that the Port's collaboration with the Chamber and Tourism Walla Walla is limited to one hour every other month is simply not supported by the facts.
I have rarely seen Mr. Corkrum at the Port's Economic Development Advisory Committee meetings and maybe if he would attend more of them he would hear more about the good interagency collaboration our Valley has.