Anchorage mayor Bronson seeks to name Port of Alaska after late Congressman Young

the port of anchorage in the evening
The Port of Alaska on Dec. 8, 2020. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage mayor Dave Bronson wants to rename the Port of Alaska in honor of Congressman Don Young. Young passed away on Friday at the age of 88, after almost a half-century as Alaska’s lone member of the House of Representatives. 

Bronson says that, considering the hundreds of millions in federal money Young was able to secure for the Port of Alaska, an appropriate way to honor Young’s legacy in the state would be to name the port after him. 

“Don has always been a strong supporter of the port and most recently was helping us advance permitting and working to get us funding for the port in Washington D.C.,” Bronson said in a social media post Monday.

The Port of Alaska has been undergoing a massive revitalization effort to replace old infrastructure like docks and pilings, dating back to at least 2014, when it was known as the Port of Anchorage. About 90% of goods consumed in Alaska come through the Port of Alaska. 

In October, Bronson said he hoped to get over a billion dollars from local, state and federal funds to help repair the aging port. He said his proposal asks for about $750 million from the federal government. 

Bronson says he’s putting forth a proposal on the name change for the Assembly to consider on Tuesday. After that, a Citizen Naming Panel would hold public meetings, check with code requirements, and provide a recommendation to the Assembly to officially rename the port the Don Young Port of Alaska. Bronson spokesman Hans Rodvik says the panel will consist of four members, two appointed by the mayor and two appointed by the Assembly chair. He says final Assembly action on renaming a municipal facility cannot be done earlier than a year after the person in question has died.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.