An Anchorage city panel in late July recommended that the Port of Alaska be renamed for the late Congressman Don Young.
But that’s not all: the renaming panel also recommended, on a 3-0 vote, reverting back to the seaport’s previous title, the Port of Anchorage, and that the port’s official name become the Don Young Port of Anchorage.
The name “Port of Alaska” is itself only five years old: the state Assembly changed the designation in 2017, in part to convey the port’s importance to the entire state to legislators who fund infrastructure projects. Most freight and consumer goods that come to the state flow through the seaport.
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced shortly after the congressman’s death on March 18, 2022 that he wanted to rename the port after Young (R-AK), who died unexpectedly while on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle.
Bonson said the renaming was appropriate because Young, as chair of the federal House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was instrumental in bringing federal dollars to the port.
“His tireless work for Alaska over the last 49 years has made a tremendous impact across generations for the Port of Alaska, which provides food and supplies for 90% of the state,” Bronson said at the time.
At the time of his death, Young was the longest-serving Republican in congressional history, having been the U.S. representative for Alaska’s at-large congressional district for 49 years.
Since his death, multiple other actions honoring Young have been taken by the State of Alaska, including on the first anniversary of his death when Gov. Mike Dunleavy proclaimed March 18, 2023 Don Young Day.
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan championed the Don Young Recognition Act, which renames Mount Cerberus to Mount Young, and the federal office building in Fairbanks has been renamed the Don Young Federal Office Building.
A public hearing on the matter of renaming the port is scheduled for Sept. 12.