BREMERTON — Gordon Walgren, long-time attorney for the Port of Bremerton and former Speaker of the House in the Washington State Legislature, passed away on March 13 at his home in Bremerton.
Walgren held many positions over his career as an attorney, which led to prosecuting attorney in Kitsap County. Walgren furthered his political career in Olympia serving as a state senator and then as House speaker.
Walgren began his tenure in the port industry in 1989, spending the last almost 30 years as legal counsel and lobbyist for the Port of Bremerton. Over his long career, he received many awards for his work, including most recently the Washington Public Ports Association’s Outstanding Service to the Industry Award.
Larry Stokes, Port of Bremerton commissioner and president, said, “The best decision I ever made as a port commissioner was to agree with my fellow commissioners and hire Walgren as our port attorney and lobbyist.”
Walgren’s experience as a senator and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee made him an effective leader for the WPPA Legislative Committee in channeling state tax revenue to port-related projects.
The harder it was to get a policy approved, the more Walgren was motivated to make it happen. He took the lead on SSB 5339, which expanded the state’s port districts’ ability to build tourism-related facilities and has been a benefit to many ports that have since used this authority to boost economic development in their community.
Walgren was the leader of the Port of Bremerton in accessing state appropriations, procuring millions of dollars for projects and infrastructure that would never have come to fruition without the needed state financial support.
“A single phone call from Walgren would bring together our congressmen, state representatives, state senators or local county commissioners to discuss and form direction for strategic or immediate steps that led to a quick resolution,” past Port Commissioner Bill Mahan said.
“He was a successful lawyer, politician, lobbyist, Port supporter and a great friend to so many people, and will be truly missed.”
Jim Rothlin, Port CEO said, “The minute I moved to the area four years ago to take this position, Walgren became my mentor on becoming acquainted with this community. He treated me like a professional and a friend, and I watched him do that with everyone he knew.”
The Port of Bremerton Commissioners would like to extend the invitation to anyone wishing to attend a memorial service for Walgren from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Kitsap Golf and Country Club in Bremerton.