Port of Centralia Creates Opportunity and Economic Growth

port centralia
The Port of Centralia is one of the youngest ports in Washington, founded in 1986.


port centralia
The Port of Centralia is one of the youngest ports in Washington, founded in 1986.

In the world of real estate, “location, location, location,” rules. In the world of business and economics, the same rule applies and dozens of fabrication, manufacturing and distribution businesses now occupy Parks I and II of the Port of Centralia.

The Port of Centralia is one of the youngest ports in the state of Washington. Founded in 1986, the Port of Centralia is a municipal corporation with a mission dedicated to the economic development of Centralia through its industrial parks.

The Port has “a lot of manufacturing,” according to Port Executive Director Kyle Heaton. “There are arms manufacturers, air compressors, and organic dog food,” he said.

Roger’s Machinery Company, Inc. became the first Port tenant in 1990. “We started out in 1990 in a little trailer,” said Heaton. Now Park I is “one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Centralia.” Park I is now home to The Chronicle Printing Division, Inland Environmental Resources, 4Legz, MEGA Arms, Century Link Service Center, Blue Rhino, Polynt, USPS, Plastic Services and Products, LLC, WildBlue, Building Materials Distributors, Reichert’s Distributing, Gorham Printing, and the Benaroya Centralia Logistics Center, among others.

The mission of the Port is to continually look for ways to expand and grow. “A rising tide floats all ships,” said Heaton. Businesses that locate to the Port of Centralia benefit the community not only by providing jobs but also by contributing to the tax base that help fund Centralia School District, Lewis County, and social services such as Riverside Fire Authority and Timberland Regional Library. “The growth of assessed value benefits all.”

The health of Centralia’s economy has often been measured to include TransAlta. “I think it used to be thirty-five percent of assessed value,” said Heaton. Over a five-year span the economy declined, eventually leading to the closing of Washington’s last coal mine in 2006.

To help off-set impending job losses in Centralia, the Port of Centralia proposed adding an additional park.

When Park II was created in 2003 it was “nothing but cow pasture,” according to Heaton. It was purchased for a little under $1 million and now is valued at over $176 million.

port centralia
The Port of Centralia is dedicated to a mission of economic development.

Park II includes Sierra Pacific Industries, one of the largest employers in Centralia; SCOT Industries producing specialty tubing and bar products; and Lineage, a cold-storage provider and manufacturer of the bread used by SUBWAY restaurants. Park II also includes Lowe’s and Michaels distribution centers. At 850,000 square feet, Michaels is the largest building in Lewis County.

Founding Port commissioners Art Lehman and Gene Groshong were instrumental to the transformation of this development. Philanthropic in their motivation, Heaton said, “Everything that is built out here is a testament to their vision.” The third founding Port commissioner, Robert Thompson, has a road in Park II named in his honor to commemorate his contribution to Centralia’s economic growth. Current Port commissioners Matt Evans, Dan Keahey, and Julie Shaffley are continuing their legacy; the Port of Centralia now comprises three industrial parks with over 1,100 acres of industrial properties.

Port of Centralia

3508 Galvin Road

Centralia, WA 98531


Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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