The Port of Brookings Harbor received two awards in November from the Special District Association of Oregon(SDAO): Port Manager Ted Fitzgerald received a Special Recognition award in the Person of the Year category and the Port itself received a Special Recognition award in the District of the Year division.

The SDAO is a nonprofit comprised of about 900 special districts, including water districts, waste water districts, ports and smaller political districts. It assists special service districts in providing cost-effective and efficient public services to the people of Oregon, according to its website.

"It compares us to the other special districts around on the way that we've been managing, and the way that we've been performing," Fitzgerald said. "We're able to compare ourselves and see that we're stacking up pretty well compared to the state."

Port Commissioner Jim Relaford shared a similar view.

"It gives visibility through the state," Relaford said. "We're a pretty well-run organization. People don't have to worry about looting and raping on Port property very often. From that point of view, the Port isvery well run and financially stable so that means people can have confidence in bringing their business here if they want to. People don't want to bring their business to an area they feel is unstable. This should certainly help."

The Port and Fitzgerald received the awards after Relaford applied for them. He said anyone who has had a significant impact on a district is eligible for the award.

"All that was required for the nomination was there be a special event with special circumstances that rose above the average performance," Relaford said. "We had two things that I thought deserved special recognition from SDAO: one was we brought the financial situation (of the Port) back to a stable situation from bankruptcy. The second was we were able to absorb a financial loss (with the tsunami). He (Fitzgerald) provided the leadership to enable both of those things to happen."

Relaford added the Port was able complete its tsunami reconstruction in 14 months because of Fitzgerald's leadership.

"I was happy that I got some recognition for what I just thought was a normal job," Fitzgerald said. "We just do the best we can under the circumstances. I was pretty surprised. I was just doing what it takes."

"It's a big deal," Relaford said. "We're a pretty small Port so it's a big deal that we got recognized. We feel pretty good about it."