Port invests in additional forklifts, a lease transfer, lawyers talk


The Port of Olympia Commission authorized purchasing four forklifts for $226,664 on Monday, March 25, to be covered by selling four 60-foot flat deck railcars, which the port approved as surplus property during the same day.

The resulting deals will eliminate the forklifts’ monthly rental cost of $7,884 while allowing the port to let go of unused equipment.

The railcars to be sold were acquired by the port for an “intermodal infrastructure enhancement project” in 2011 but are no longer considered necessary for the port’s operations.

The port values the railcars at $60,112. As the railcars were purchased through a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the agency must first review and approve the surplus equipment.

Marine Terminal Senior Manager Afsin Yilmaz said they expect FRA to issue its decision by March 28.

Lease transfer of Red Wagon Burgers

The commission also authorized the transfer of the lease of the building where the Tumwater branch of Red Wagon Burgers is located. The lease was transferred from M & D Food LLC to J & Allen LLC, the new restaurant owners, as part of the commission’s consent agenda on Monday, March 25.

The lease covers 1,450 square feet of space in a building at 7205 Old Highway 99. The contract will run through the end of 2034, with the lease rate set to increase 2.5% annually until 2029. Any lease adjustments afterward will depend on the commission’s policy.

M & D Food has been leasing the space since 2017. The Port initially granted the lease to Kyoung Jae Kim in 2015 to operate the burger joint.

Expanded contract with law firm

Human Resources Director Ben McDonald also briefed the commission on expanding the contract of the law firm of Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. The firm provides legal services to help the port with real estate development, insurance litigation, and public records requests.

McDonald said the firm has helped with lease negotiations with real estate developer Panattoni Development Company and the port’s habitat conservation plan. The firm has also aided the port in tenant non-compliance and eviction cases.

The current contract has a not-to-exceed amount of $100,000, which the port is approaching full utilization of. McDonald said that there is still around $20,000 left in the contract.

The expanded contract will increase the not-to-exceed amount of the contract by another $100,000 and extend the contract until the end of 2025.

The commission took no action regarding the new contract as it will discuss it again at a future meeting.

During the public comments section of the meeting, local resident Lee Riner expressed concern about Heather Burgess who is a partner to the law firm.

“Many of us have dealt with Heather Burgess in the past and many people of the public have tremendous heartburn of what has happened in the past with that attorney,” Riner said.

“I suggest we have maybe even a meeting with the Port of Olympia’s new director as to what has happened in the past with that attorney,” Riner added.


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  • Boatyarddog

    The comment made by Lee Riner of H. Burgess is Valid.

    During ED Gibboneys Time as well ED Galligens time,

    Many Issues surfaced that looked wrong and were was improper.

    Id like to hear more on this.

    And Thank Lee for her comment.

    Thursday, March 28 Report this

  • JJmama

    Heather Burgess has issues which should have resulted in the Port severing connections with her and her firm long ago.

    It is so disappointing to see the port commissioners not only doing business with her but agreeing to double their payments to her??

    She sat as the Port attorney for years during many very questionable practices: Environmental lawsuits against the Port (in which the Port lost and paid extensive settlements), environmentally degrading practices which saw the Port seriously in trouble with Dept. of Ecology for repeated violations, multiple episodes of hiding practices, cover-up & attempts to prevent access to Port inspections, spurious and personally damaging allegations against the Port's own sitting commissioner Zita, years of subterfuge in accounting practices, a completely bad-faith purchase of the huge Lacey real estate properties in which major structural repair info was kept from commissioners until after the purchase....the list goes on and on.

    What is she still doing here?

    Thursday, March 28 Report this