Port commission candidate Fred Felleman lives on a boat at the Shilshole Bay Marina.
Port commission candidate Fred Felleman says the president and the pope's new climate initiatives helped him win the primary. Courtesy of Fred Felleman

Environmental consultant Fred Felleman and former Normandy Park City Council member Marion Yoshino weren't supposed to come out as the frontrunners for Republican Bill Bryant's old port commission seat. Their campaign war chests combined added up to less than half of the $102,756.79 that was backing the favored candidate of Alaska Airlines and the maritime industry, former Clipper Navigation CEO Darrell Bryan.

But after last night's ballot drop revealed that Felleman had won nearly 22 percent of the vote with Yoshino coming in second place at nearly 19 percent, both candidates are crediting their early victories in the primary race to renewed public interest in the port's environmental impacts.

"We won because people are recognizing CLIMATE CHANGE MATTERS," Yoshino wrote in an e-mail this morning.

Felleman, who watched the results come in while surrounded by a small group of excited supporters at a Fremont bar on Tuesday night, agreed. "It's the issue," he said. "I was carrying a torch that everyone could see was burning."

Felleman is running on a pledge to insert environmental values and transparency into the port's business dealings. He, like Yoshino, was also highly critical of the port commission's decision to host Shell's Arctic drilling fleet at Terminal 5. On the campaign trail, Yoshino named installing air and water quality monitors at the port as two of her highest priorities.

It didn't hurt that national and international climate change initiatives had made headlines in recent weeks. "I had the pope and the president," Felleman said.

Felleman has more experience with port issues than Yoshino; as a long-time environmental consultant for Friends of the Earth, he's worked on a number of port issues related to cruise ship pollution and dredging toxic sludge. Yoshino, however, has the advantage of holding political office before. She also has a background in business.

As far as the other port race goes, it's no surprise that incumbent Courtney Gregoire (daughter of former governor Chris Gregoire) came out with a whopping 82.22 percent of the vote. Her main competitor was pro-space colonization candidate Goodspaceguy, who, after addressing the newly formed Northwest Seaport Alliance yesterday afternoon in Swedish and German, asked that the Alliance change its name to the more geographically specific "Seattle-Tacoma Seaport Alliance."

The Northwest Seaport Alliance did not change its name.