John Creighton is a business lawyer who practiced on the east coast and overseas prior to returning to his home in the Northwest. John was elected to the Seattle Port Commission in November 2005, During that time, he has served as Commission President, and on the audit and strategic planning committees of the Port Commission.
As commissioner, John has focused on keeping the Port strong as a jobs creation engine while increasing the agency’s commitment to the environment and making it a more accountable, socially responsible public agency.
Before becoming a commissioner, John worked as a lawyer specializing in complex international transactions in the port cities of Singapore, Helsinki and Istanbul prior to returning home and establishing his own practice.
Deep Roots in East King County
John grew up on the Eastside and graduated from Interlake High School in Bellevue. His father, who worked thirty years in the timber industry, taught him a deep love of the outdoors: John grew up hiking the trails of the Cascade and Olympic mountains, skiing in Snoqualmie Pass and fishing local waters. John’s extended family is spread out across East King County.
Advancing More Effective Government
As a lawyer and local small business owner, John knows how difficult it is to make payroll with all levels of government looking to levy taxes and fees. As your port commissioner, John has advanced reform measures at the Port leading to better oversight of taxpayer funds, including implementation of a Commission audit committee and an independent internal audit program, better controls and procedures on capital projects and posting Commission expenses online.
Working Towards Better Regional Collaboration
John believes that effective government also means cooperation among all levels of government agencies. When the BNSF Eastside Corridor – the 44-mile rail and trail corridor that runs from Renton to Snohomish – was put up for sale, John worked to bring this invaluable asset into public ownership by having the Port partner with King County, the cities of Redmond and Kirkland, Sound Transit and Puget Sound Energy.
John has also worked towards greater collaboration among ports. He organized the first of several joint public meetings between the Seattle and Tacoma port commissions, the first ever in their almost 100-year history. That same year, he presided over the kickoff of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, an unprecedented collaboration among the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, BC that has resulted in the reduction of diesel emissions and particulates in our harbor by as much as 70%.
John began talks with his counterparts at the Port of Tacoma in 2008 on the most difficult aspect of port cooperation: joining forces commercially. Persistence paid off and in 2015, we launched the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo joint venture between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Together, the two ports are working to strengthen the competitive position of the Puget Sound gateway, and to protect and grow maritime and industrial jobs for our state.
Champion for Freight Mobility and an Efficient Statewide Transportation System
John understands that the Port of Seattle is important to the entire state’s economy, from Boeing shipping airplane parts to customers across the globe, to Eastern Washington farmers and Western Washington seafood processors delivering products to international markets. He has been a strong champion for improvements in our transportation system all across Washington State.
John serves on the State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, where he has overseen investment in important transportation projects from Bellingham to Kent to Yakima. He is chair of the State Route 509 Corridor Completion Committee, a critical project for economic growth in South King County. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Puget Sound Regional Council, which oversees investment of federal tax dollars in regional transportation projects.
Experienced Travel and Tourism Professional
Over 70% of the jobs and economic activity generated by the Port of Seattle comes from the operations of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and its tenants. Last year, the travel and tourism sector generated over $17 billion in economic activity for our state.
John understands what an essential economic engine the airport is to our regional economy. Much of John’s legal practice was focused on travel and tourism clients, including international air carriers and major hotel chains. John has served on the advisory board of Visit Seattle (Seattle’s convention and visitors bureau) and the board of the Economic Development Council for Seattle and King County.