Port Declares Local Emergency & Suspends In-Person Commission Meeting Requirement

Port of Kennewick office building on Clover Island.

Port Declares Local Emergency & Suspends In-Person Commission Meeting Requirement

Kennewick, Wash. – Port of Kennewick’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution declaring a local emergency and delegating additional authorities to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission also approved a resolution to suspended section 6.9 of its previously adopted Commission Rules of Policy and Procedure to allow Commissioners to participate in future Commission Meetings via telephone during the current state of emergency.

The Declaration of Local Emergency resolution (2020-06) as well as the Change to Commission Policy resolution (2020-05), approved at the port’s regular meeting Tuesday, are in line with similar declarations from local government agencies and in keeping with guidance from the Washington Public Ports Association. The resolutions were drafted to enable the Port to continue operating efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These resolutions help position Port of Kennewick to quickly and flexibly respond to evolving needs, opportunities or challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also may provide options for accessing state or federal resources should they become available or necessary,” said Port CEO Tim Arntzen.

To fulfill the open public meeting act (OPMA) requirements, and to maintain social distancing protocols, the commission meeting was convened with the three commissioners and one staff member present; other staff participated via remote access. The OPMA requires the meeting location be open to public attendance; however, seating at the meeting was limited due to social distancing parameters. The public was encouraged to participate via teleconference, and one member of the public participated remotely.


The Port of Kennewick is a municipal corporation serving taxpayers in Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, and portions of Benton City and unincorporated Benton County. The Port’s economic development mission is focused on growing, improving, and sustaining regional employment, tourism, and quality of life for port district residents & visitors.