Commissioner selected for Port of Everett seat

EVERETT — Retired real estate executive Duane Pearson of Mukilteo was selected Tuesday as the third member of the Port of Everett commission.

Pearson was named by commissioners Michael Hoffmann and Phil Bannan to replace Connie Niva, who resigned last month after mistakenly moving a short distance outside the port district.

Hoffmann and Bannan both said that any of the candidates would have done a good job but that they picked Pearson because of his real estate experience. For 35 years Pearson was a general manager of real estate for Simpson Investment Co. in Seattle, helping the timber company handle its land holdings.

Most recently he was a member of a committee to help the port evaluate its properties and recommend what to do with them.

“His prior experience lends itself to some of the issues we’re looking at right now,” Bannan said when asked why he voted for Pearson.

“I think it was his real estate experience,” Hoffmann said. “It’s something we’re starting to focus on.”

The port is in the middle of negotiations to sell its building at 2911 Bond St. and to build a new headquarters in a building it is remodeling for marina tenants on the waterfront adjacent to the new 14th Street marina.

It’s also working on what to do with the Collins Building, a property on the state and national historic registers which is now slated for demolition.

And it’s mulling options in handling a $400 million redevelopment of the waterfront now that its private partner, Maritime Trust of Chicago, has declared bankruptcy.

Pearson said he didn’t have a particular agenda; he just wanted to help where he could.

“My focus will be on community service,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of demolition, I’ve seen restoration of old buildings at old mill sites.”

Sworn in at Tuesday’s commission meeting, Pearson will serve until certification of the November general election. Voters will select someone to replace Pearson and to fill out the two remaining years of Niva’s term. To be a candidate for the temporary post, Pearson had to agree not to run for election.

Pearson stepped right in at the meeting, asking questions about several projects, including some proposed changes to plans for the new administration building.

“I need to do some homework,” he said at one point.

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