Repurposing wasted Inland Port spaces

“According to a recent Tribune article, Wayne Niederhouser, the Utah Homeless Coordinator, reported that a $5 million gap exists in shelter money for the homeless in Utah this winter. May I suggest that Niederhauser talk to the Utah Inland Port Authority board, another Utah state agency, because the Inland Port has been given tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the Legislature.”

An op-ed published in the Salt Lake Tribune discusses repurposing controversial development that remains largely unutilized. As James King, Stop the Polluting Port activist and author of the op-ed puts it, “The only thing that the Inland Port really does is subsidize the development of enormous warehouses.”

Development in the Salt Lake City Inland Port project area. Photo by David Jackson Photography.

King offers the warehouses as a potential option to assist in the homeless crisis plaguing the state’s capital city. “Now, many of these new warehouses are vacant, and so, if the Inland Port board won’t provide Niederhauser the $5 million that he needs, maybe the board could open up one of its warehouses for the homeless. It’s very late in the season and bitter cold is on the way. At least five homeless people froze to death last winter on the streets of Salt Lake City,” King writes. 

The Utah Inland Port has jurisdiction over around 16,000 acres in Salt Lake City. They were approved for a $150 million, tax-payer backed, bond and use resident property taxes to fund their operations with very little to no benefit to the local community. If the Utah Inland Port truly wants to be a good neighbor and community member, they will find ways to improve the local community and not just pollute our air. 

A recent white paper by Berkley professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research concludes that the Inland Port’s current business model is fatally flawed and almost certain to fail. An Inland Port located in Salt Lake City simply does not fit the needs of the

Trans-Pacific supply chain, so public dollars and resources should be used to better serve the community and confront real problems facing Utah. 

Find the full op-ed here. 

More information on the Utah Inland Ports