Vancouver Port CEO To Step Down May 19

By Conrad Wilson (OPB)
Vancouver, Washington May 3, 2016 10:07 p.m.
Port of Vancouver CEO Todd Coleman attends a commission meeting at the Port of Vancouver on April 28.

Port of Vancouver CEO Todd Coleman attends a commission meeting at the Port of Vancouver on April 28.

Natalie Behring / The Columbian

Port of Vancouver CEO Todd Coleman announced Tuesday that he'll be stepping down from his job later this month.  
Coleman has been with the port since 2001. His last day will be May 19.
Coleman did not give a specific reason for his sudden departure, but said when he took the job back in May 2012 he committed to doing the job for four years.
"Along the way I've always said that my intent has been to get done a list of projects within that four-year period," he said. "As I look back on it we were very successful at working through those lists."
During Coleman's tenure, he helped attract the Vancouver Energy Project to the port — a massive proposed oil-by-rail terminal that could ship up to 360,000 barrels per day to West Coast ports. That project has been controversial and is currently in the state permitting process.  
"As a state or as a region, I think we need to get to yes or no faster," Coleman said. This permitting process is taking a lot longer than anyone expected …. The length of time it takes us in order to get through some of these processes can be a bit frustrating."
Coleman also worked to upgrade the port's infrastructure, negotiate a land swap that preserves wildlife habitat while opening up new riverfront property for development, and played a central role in the port's redevelopment of Terminal One along the Columbia River.
Coleman said he's reflected on his decision to leave.
"Honestly, if I did not feel the port was in good hands or if I did not feel that vision was clear, I probably would've rethought it and I would've stayed on for a little while longer," he said.
Port Commissioner Brian Wolf said Coleman was not pressured to leave.
"It's a surprise," he said. "Having talked to him over the last several weeks, trying to talk him into staying. He has reminded me repeatedly that he told us that he would give us four years when we hired him and that time has come."
Wolf said there are issues related to the oil terminal and the waterfront development to "tidy up" before Coleman leaves.
"Frankly, I'm disappointed to see him go," said Eric LaBrand, a Vancouver port commissioner who has spoken out against the Vancouver Energy Project.
"If I were Todd, I might be kind of frustrated about just the public push-back against the oil terminal project," LaBrant said. "But he hasn't expressed to me that's any particular piece of this."
The port has not yet named an interim leader while it looks for Coleman's replacement.