Economic Development

Lopez Airport is an economic engine for Lopez community and operates successfully while collecting one of the lowest Port tax incomes in the state:

  • Lopez Airport has 5000 to 6000 flights annually, approximately 50% of the flights are commercial aircraft (data collected by Port).
  • The airport brings in hundreds of workers and visitors, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to our community, which contributes to many jobs on Lopez.
  • Lopez Airport provides the safest and most reliable Medevac facility on the island.
  • Lab samples from our Medical Clinic leave the airport daily for testing and analysis on the mainland.
  • Daily overnight freight is delivered by air to our airport.
  • The airport would play a key role in a mass diasaster on Lopez Island.

Port of Lopez is more than an airport. The Port supports our community’s economy in many ways:

  • Owns and operates the popular Bayview Day Park on Fisherman Bay serving both visitors and local citizens.
  • Owns the island’s first and tallest cell tower, enhancing communication.
  • Owns and rents a scarce and affordable year round home vital to members of Lopez Fire Department and the school district.
  • Rents an industrial shop to a local contractor.
  • Leases farmland to local farms raising sheep and apple orchard land for cider.
  • Owner of Lopez Island oil spill equipment.
  • Supports the SJ Economic Development Council and Lopez Chamber of Commerce.

Washingon Public Ports Association Statement:

….A port district is uniquely capable of creating economic growth and increasing the number of family-wage jobs in a community, because of the specific authorities granted by the legislature. Ports are the only public agencies whose primary purpose is economic development.

Our ports create jobs and economic growth in many diverse ways. They own and operate shipping terminals, marinas and docks, airports, industrial sites, railroads, and parks and recreational facilities. Some ports operate in all of these sectors, others in only one or two, but almost every Washington port pursues an aggressive program of economic development.

These programs include industrial development, infrastructure development, import/export assistance, tourism, and entrepreneurial development. Ports are willing to invest for the long-term in their communities. Ports often make significant investments in infrastructure – building facilities that will eventually house profitable businesses that reinvest in a community….

Specifically, ports have the authority to:

  • Develop marine terminals, airports and other facilities for handling cargo and accommodating passengers
  • Buy and improve pieces of property for lease – or sometimes to sell – to private industry for industrial and commercial uses
  • Provide air and water pollution control facilities
  • Operate trade centers and export trading companies
  • Establish and operate foreign trade zones
  • Provide environmental enhancement, protection and public access
  • Build and operate or lease out marinas and related facilities and provide public boat ramps for public use
  • Promote tourism as an economic stimulus within the port district