My Port of Longview

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Port of Kelso Cars

PROUDLY BRINGING BENEFITS TO COWLITZ COUNTY SINCE 1921

Nearly 100 years ago, local citizens made a crucial vote to form a port district in Cowlitz County following the creation of the Port District Act (see related story below). This fateful move would see the Port of Kelso—as we were first known—established on the banks of the Cowlitz River in 1921.

Little did civic leaders know their humble Port would grow into the third largest in the state, encompassing over 800 acres and sparking unparalleled economic growth throughout the region.

The Port District Act required ports to be named after the largest city in the district, which was Kelso at the time. Upon Longview’s establishment as an official city in 1923, and after some controversy, voters approved moving the Port of Kelso to the more accessible Columbia River and renaming it Port of Longview in 1929. Other ports would quickly sprout up, helping improve the river channel while the Port built its infrastructure.
The Port’s first decade saw 130,000 tons of cargo moved on a modest 40 acres of land. Fortunes changed quickly as the Great Depression set in, but World War II brought new prosperity as the Port began moving war equipment overseas. With war declared over in 1945, the Port began marketing itself in earnest.

Finally, under the direction of Manager Harvey Hart, we achieved status as a U.S. Customs Port of Entry in the 1950’s. This important event allowed the Port to compete with other large West Coast ports and ushered in a new era of expansion.

As decades passed, new docks were built, cargoes diversified and thousands of jobs were created. The Port is now a thriving, locally-governed asset bringing benefits home to families in our Port district and improving the economic health of our entire region. From the banks of the Cowlitz River to the Columbia and beyond, your Port is here to stay.


1927 2nd story pic

1911 PORT DISTRICT ACT KEPT RAILROADS FROM TAKING OVER


The arrival of transcontinental railroads in the 1870’s opened up the State of Washington for development like never before, but it came at a steep price as civic leaders gave large areas of waterfront real estate to the railroads in the name of growth.

After realizing the tremendous economic impact their waterways brought to the region, and seeing their lands slowly being monopolized by railroads, state legislators passed the game-changing Port District Act in 1911.

This historic piece of legislation placed waterfront property back into the hands of local communities by empowering citizens to form port districts, eventually creating jobs and fueling the economy.

Over 100 years later, the Port of Longview stands proudly as one of the most successful among The Port District Act kept railroads from monopolizing the land. the 75 port districts in Washington.


A TIMELINE OF EARLY PORT OF LONGVIEW MILESTONES

1921

1929

1942

1950

Port of Kelso established on Cowlitz RiverVoters change name; Port relocates to Columbia RiverPort handles WWII cargo; profits soarPort achieves "Port of Entry" status;