Economic Development Week: Focus on Port of Skagit

Economic Development Week: Focus on Port of Skagit Main Photo

9 May 2024


Economic development can take many forms, and for Economic Development Week, May 6-10, we’ll be sharing some of the ways in which EDSAC applies economic development practices to the needs of businesses and the community. Today, we profile one of our key partners in economic development, the Port of Skagit.

Governed by a board of three Commissioners elected to six-year staggered terms, the Port of Skagit serves as an economic development engine for Skagit County by concentrating on the Port’s mission, Working Together for the Greater Good of the Skagit Valley.  

Local voters approved the creation of the Port of Skagit in 1964, realizing the need for an entity that would serve the economic needs of Skagit County by helping to create jobs in the natural resource fields of agriculture, wood products, fisheries and mineral extraction, as well as diversifying the economy by introducing manufacturing industries to the community. The Port’s focus has broadened over time, and today the Port aims to contribute to the economic vitality of Skagit County through the development of facilities and infrastructure that support local commerce, trade and tourism.  

The Port of Skagit operates on a 2024 budget of $12 million with approximately 36 FTEs, and owns and operates five key facilities within the Port’s real estate enterprise:  

  • The Skagit Regional Airport, located west of Burlington, Washington, serves as the aerial gateway to the picturesque Skagit Valley. It caters to various users, including general aviation, corporate jets, charters and freight services. Recent upgrades by the Port of Skagit ensure it remains a safe and attractive facility, poised to meet the growing transportation needs of the community.
  • The Bayview Business Park, situated in the Skagit Valley and adjacent to Skagit Regional Airport, offers easy access to Interstate-5 and a regional workforce. Hosting 45 business tenants and supporting approximately 1,000 jobs, it spans hundreds of acres of wetlands and forested industrial property.  
  • The Watershed Business Park was formed in 2018. Designed to bolster the local agricultural industry, including growers, producers and innovators, these shovel-ready light industrial lots are strategically located near Bayview Business Park and Skagit Regional Airport.  
  • The SWIFT Center, situated on the former Northern State Hospital campus in Sedro-Woolley, boasts a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1912. The Port of Skagit collaborated with partners including the City of Sedro-Woolley, Skagit County, Washington State Department of Enterprise Services and others to develop the vision for the property, which is a mixed-use campus, integrating education, research, manufacturing, hospitality and commercial facilities while preserving its historic charm and public spaces.
  • The La Conner Marina is a beloved hub for recreational boaters, commercial fishers, and marine-related businesses. Over five decades, the marina has undergone numerous capital projects to enhance docks, infrastructure, and buildings, catering to the needs of tenants and the boating community.

Combined, these facilities and Port enterprises are home to more than 100 tenants and provide more than 1,500 full-time jobs.  

EDASC partners closely with the Port of Skagit on business recruitment, retention and expansion opportunities, and on improving competitiveness in Skagit County. In addition, EDASC has partnered with the Port on the development of broadband access across the county and on the Value-Added Agricultural Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ), which nurtures partnerships to enhance the local agricultural industry, promoting innovative approaches that combine research and technology producing new jobs and a robust economy centered on the valley’s rich agricultural resources and heritage.  

Partnerships are key to successful economic development, and EDASC looks forward to strengthening relationships with the Port of Skagit for years to come.