Former Port of Vancouver USA Dir. John Fratt honored

Vancouver resident John Fratt, an influential force in shaping the direction of Columbia River ports for the past 25 years, has been named as the 2005 recipient of the “Old Salt” Award for outstanding service to the maritime industry by The Portland Shipping Club. Fratt, recently retired Director of Government Relations for the Port of Vancouver USA, was surprised with the honor at the annual Propeller Club and Portland Shipping Club and Propeller Club of the Columbia River dinner held March 12.

“John has accomplished much in his career,” said Larry Paulson, Port of Vancouver USA Executive Director, in nominating him for the award. “He has been intimately involved with key issues that help our regional maritime industry on the Columbia River progress and flourish. Many of us have witnessed his enthusiasm and passion as he promotes the causes that impact so many of us.”

While at the Port of Vancouver from July 2001 until his retirement in 2004, Fratt worked with elected officials and with local and state government to promote the Port’s mission of creating and retaining family-wage jobs. He served as Chairman of the Interstate Columbia River Improvement Project (Channel Deepening) for nine years and was also instrumental in his work to save the Corps of Engineers dredge fleet and increase the time available for the public dredge fleet to operate.

Prior to joining the Port of Vancouver, Fratt served 20 years as the executive director at the Port of Kalama and highlights of his tenure include bringing in Peavey Grain as a customer, acquiring over 700 acres of property for the port. He was instrumental in promoting the industrial sales tax exemption, which ultimately brought BHP Coated Steel to the Port of Kalama. His lobbying successes include getting Washington State to allow the use of revenue bonds to fund port projects. In addition, Fratt was the executive director of the Port of Douglas County, Washington, for a year prior to joining Kalama.

Fratt has been active in many maritime associations and activities including Marine Fire and Safety Association (MFSA); Propeller Club, Port of the Columbia River; Portland Shipping Club; Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA); and, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA).

He was a founding member of the MFSA, having been an eyewitness to the tragedy on-board the vessel, M/V Protector Alpha, in 1982. During this time, he worked with MFSA to help forge relationships between the various firefighting agencies, US Coast Guard, terminal operators and ports. He is also an MFSA past president. Fratt is very involved in PNWA where he also is a past president of the board, and he has also chaired the WPPA’ Cooperative Development Committee.

Fratt continues to be heavily involved in promoting local transportation issues through participation in community efforts, including the Columbia River Rail Bridge, Interstate 5 Partnership, and 20-year strategic plan for freight mobility.

The Portland Shipping Club, established in 1927, was created to bring together in close, friendly association those interested in shipping, maritime, and allied pursuits and to initiate and cooperate with other organizations in the furtherance of the interests of the Willamette, Columbia, and Snake Rivers System.