Port of Kennewick Announces 2022 Friend of the Port

Port Commission President Skip Novakovich presents Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village neighbor and volunteer watchman, James Cox, with the 2022 Friend of the Port award.

Port of Kennewick Announces 2022 Friend of the Port

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 14, 2023

Port of Kennewick Announces 2022 Friend of the Port
James Cox honored for his stewardship of Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village

Kennewick, Wash.On Tuesday, February 14, at its regular commission meeting, Port of Kennewick honored James Cox as a champion in the revitalization of Kennewick’s Historic Waterfront and recognized him with their 2022 Friend of the Port award.

According to port staff, Cox has personally supported efforts to transform the east Columbia Drive neighborhood into the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village. Stated Port Director of Real Estate Amber Hanchette, “From notifying port staff when he sees abandoned cars, vagrants, graffiti or offending activity, to patronizing the businesses and visiting with guests, to keeping a vigilant eye on the port’s investments, Jim has taken it upon himself to serve as volunteer ‘watchman’ for the entire neighborhood. And his notifications are saving tax dollars and ensuring a safe and attractive waterfront.”

Port staff reported that when a food truck’s equipment was inadvertently left unattended, Cox secured that equipment overnight for the vendor. And several times, he secured fencing for the contractor during construction of the tasting room building. He often calls port staff about broken sprinklers and lights, and his frequent notifications are appreciated as they allow for swift repairs to minimize damage.

Port staff shared that Cox is an Army veteran and former long-haul truck driver who loves the Kennewick community.  And despite many hardships in his life, he continues to give of his time and talents by working to ensure the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village, Food Truck Plaza, many public artworks, and Duffy’s Pond nature trail are all inviting and welcoming to the neighborhood’s residents, businesses, employees, and guests.

Commission President Skip Novakovich shared that the port team is proud of the work James Cox is doing and wanted to honor him for his generous heart and caring spirit. Stating, “It is with sincere appreciation that we thank him for his past service to our country and recognize his current service to the community as a partner in neighborhood revitalization.”


Port of Kennewick is an economic development entity focused on developing assets to create sustainable family-wage jobs, build infrastructure and user-friendly transportation systems and enhance the quality of life within the port district.