Panel recommends renaming port after Don Young and reverting to ‘of Anchorage’ 

a portrait of a man
U.S. Rep. Don Young in 2016. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

“The Don Young Port of Anchorage.” 

That’s what a panel recommends renaming the city-owned Port of Alaska. There are two changes there: An honorary thing for the man who represented Alaska for 49 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a reversion to the place name historically attached to the port – Anchorage, not Alaska. 

The proposed legislation credits Young with helping to steer hundreds of millions of dollars to port projects

The panelists said in a letter that switching the name back to “of Anchorage” better reflects industry practice. 

The “of Alaska” moniker is only five years old. The Anchorage Assembly changed the name in 2017 in a symbolic move, in part to convey to legislators who fund infrastructure projects the port’s importance to the entire state. Most freight, fuel and consumer goods that come to Alaska flow through the port. 

The Assembly will hold a public hearing and is expected to vote on the name-change proposal on Sept. 12.

At a public hearing the renaming panel held in June, no one from the public participated. The four panelists were appointed last year by Mayor Dave Bronson and then-Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance. 

The renaming process began after Young died on March 18, 2022. A city code requires a one-year waiting period after someone’s death before the Assembly can rename a city facility after them.

State and federal officials have named several other things for the late Congressman. Gov. Mike Dunleavy proclaimed March 18, 2023, as Don Young Day. U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan backed legislation that renamed a volcanic mountain west of Adak, a job center in Palmer and a federal office building in Fairbanks after Young.  

Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him at or 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremy here.

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