PULLMAN, Wash. — Michael G. Thorne, executive director of the Port of
Portland, received Washington State University’s Alumni Achievement Award
Dec. 13 at a Port of Portland Commission meeting.
WSU recognized Thorne as “one of Oregon’s most distinguished citizens.” In
addition to his leadership of the Port of Portland for the past decade, he has
chaired the American Association of Port Authorities. Earlier, he spent 18
years in the Oregon Senate, 1973-91, where he chaired the Ways and Means
Committee from 1985-91.
Under his leadership, the Port of Portland was one of the first ports to embrace
complete logistics and integrate planning for “the four Rs” of transportation:
rivers, runways, rails and roads. The port is the nation’s leading wheat export
port, a major auto import facility and a significant West Coast container port.
Some $9.5 billion in cargo passes through the Portland harbor each year. The
Port ranks fourth in auto handling, seventh as an exporting gateway and 15th
in container activity.
Portland International Airport has been one of the fastest growing U.S.
airports over the past decade, with passengers increasing from 6 million to 14
million per year. The airport recently completed a $150 million expansion and
renovation, and more improvements are underway. The Port is also a primary
sponsor of a $188 million Columbia River channel-deepening project,
undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Thorne came to WSU from Pendleton, Ore. The 1962 graduate in agricultural
mechanization was a member of Alpha Zeta fraternity; Alpha Gamma Rho, the
agricultural honorary; and Phi Kappa Phi, a national scholastic honor society.
Active in the Portland community, he serves on the board of Willamette
Industries, Standard Insurance, Oregon Health Sciences University and the
Oregon Historical Society. He also has been a member of the Bank of America
and U.S. West advisory boards. In 1998, he was honored by the Portland
Urban League for participating in a mentoring program that assists small,
minority-owned businesses in learning how to become successful.
Thorne and his wife, Jill, are parents of a son, Todd, and a daughter, Katy
Coba. He owns a wheat and cattle ranch north of Pendleton that he farms with