Alaska News

In symbolic step, Port of Anchorage renamed Port of Alaska

The Port of Anchorage is now called the Port of Alaska, after a Tuesday night vote by the city Assembly.

The measure sends a message to state lawmakers, said sponsor and Anchorage Assembly chair Dick Traini. Anchorage has been asking the state to help pay for upgrades to the port docks, which, after a failed expansion project, are being crippled by corrosion.

With the state facing a massive budget crisis, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and his deputies have been weighing other options to pay for what's now a "modernization" project, like privatizing some parts of the port. At the same time, city officials are still trying to make the case that the port is a statewide asset, with the vast majority of Alaska's dry goods coming through the docks.

"If you look at fundamentally how it's used and what it's used for, it really is the Port of Alaska," said Assemblywoman Amy Demboski.

[Anchorage's port is already falling apart. With the clock ticking, who will pay to fix it?] 

Traini's ordinance said that the port didn't have to swap out its signs, letterheads or other materials immediately. Those changes can happen "in the due course of its business operations," Traini wrote in a memo.

Assemblyman Fred Dyson, a former state legislator, was the only vote against the change. Dyson noted that there are a number of key ports in Alaska, not just Anchorage.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.