What is a port district?

In 1911, the Washington Legislature, reacting against private railroad companies' domination of docks and harbors that were critical to the trade-dependent state's economy, authorized local voters to create publicly owned and managed port districts.

The law allows port districts to develop facilities that provide services for economic development and transportation, which in turn enhances the local economy. There are 76 ports in Washington State, and each has its own characteristics. Ports range in size, the scope of their facilities and operations, and their locations – some are on water, while others are far inland.

It is the mission of the Port of Garfield to pursue Economic and Community Development, to promote tourism and to improve the District for Garfield County and its citizens.

The Goals of the Port

As all Washington State Port Districts, the Port of Garfield operates within a two-tiered level of authority. The top tier is derived from the state's RCW's which enable the ports to pursue economic development projects that strengthen the economy of their region.

The second tier is derived through the comprehensive plan which sets polices, goals and objectives used to attain specific economic development.

Goals, policies, and objectives are utilized to add flexibility to a plan by giving general directions for decisions to take, but not specific projects for achievement. At the same time, goals and objectives provide a measure for evaluating and monitoring progress toward a desired end.

  • GOAL #1 - Aid in the Diversification of the Economy of Garfield County Through Retention, Expansion and Recruitment of Desired Businesses and Industries.
  • GOAL #2 - Continue Acquisition, Development and Management of Port Property and Facilities.
  • GOAL #3 - Encourage and Strive to Create Recreational and Tourism Opportunities in the District.
  • GOAL #4 - Encourage a Balanced and Economical Multi-modal Transportation System for Garfield County.
  • GOAL #5 - Encourage and Support in all Capacities the Upgrading and Development of Local Telecommunications.
  • GOAL #6 - Strive to Develop a Working Relationship with Local Businesses and Economic Development Organizations.
  • GOAL #7 - Use Creative Lease Structure to Attract New, Expanding and Relocating Businesses

For more details about Port of Garfield goals, policies, and objectives, download the Port of Garfield Comprehensive Plan.

Port of Garfield Formation

On November 4, 1958 the citizens of Garfield County held an election to determine if a port district was to be established. The voters of Garfield County approved the formation of the entire county into a port district and subsequently elected commissioners to serve.

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Governing Body / Leadership

Port districts in Washington are unique: they are governed by an elected commission, independent of other local jurisdictions. Port commissions establish long-term strategies for a port district, and create policies to guide the development, growth and operation of the port. They are also responsible for a port's annual budgets, approving tax levy rates, and hiring the professional staff members responsible for the port's daily functions.

The Port of Garfield is governed by a three-member Port Commission board. The Commissioners are elected by voters within the county and all serve a six-year term, staggering the terms every two years. Port of Garfield Commissioners meet once a month to approve bills, set policies and make decision about economic development.

leader 1
Ed Crawford
District 1

Ed is a lifelong resident of Garfield County. He has been married for 40 years and has two sons and five grandchildren. He managed a local auto parts business for 30 years and has served as a Port of Garfield Commissioner since 2014. Ed enjoys the relaxing life of a small town, golfing on the local course in Pomeroy, and the ease of access to our National Forest where weekend mushroom, camping and hunting trips are just a few miles away.

leader 2
Larry Scoggin
District 2

Larry was born and raised in Garfield County, graduated from Pomeroy High School in 1966 and graduated from Columbia Basin College in 1968. He is a Vietnam Veteran, after graduating from CBC, he joined the US Army and served for 3 years. His hobbies are hunting, fishing, trapping and snowmobiling and he enjoys doing these with his wife of 27 years and their son and daughter. After 45 years Larry retired in 2016 from General Tractor & Implement Co., servicing Caterpillar and John Deere Implements as a mechanic and a sales manager. He has served as a Port of Garfield Commissioner for 2 years.

leader 3
Matt Herres
District 3

Matt is a long time resident of Pomeroy. He has been serving as Port Commissioner since 2020.

leader 4
Diana Ruchert
Port Manager

Diana has worked at the Port District for 16 years, as manager since 2017. She moved to Pomeroy 19 years ago from Colorado and decided to make her home in Garfield County. She enjoys her work, family, attending school sports & programs, playing golf, and restoring her century-old home.


The Port of Garfield encompasses the entire county of Garfield, which occupies some 714 square miles (457,000 acres) of land in southeastern Washington. Garfield County offers obvious opportunities for agricultural or forest product related industries plus providing an attractive alternative for industries desiring to locate in a rural environment.

The northern third of Garfield County is composed of level to moderately rolling terrain, frequently bisected by deep drainage courses. This land is generally fertile and well suited to the seed. This Palouse Hills plateau is considered to be the most productive wheat growing area in the world. The Blue Mountains, the southern third of the county, are a second major topographic region with the Snake River Canyon on the north as the third major feature.

State Route 12 crosses the county from east to west, linking Pomeroy, the county seat, to the Clarkston-Lewiston area to the east, and Dayton-Walla Walla-Tri-Cities to the west. Access from the north is provided by State Highway 127 which crosses the Snake via the bridge at Central Ferry, linking Garfield and Whitman County.