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AGO 1951 No. 195 - December 19, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

PORT OF KALAMA ‑- POWER TO ISSUE BONDS TO CONSTRUCT A HARDBOARD PLANT.

A port district does not have authority to construct a plant for the manufacture of hardboard.

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                                                               December 19, 1951

Honorable Arthur H. Reed
Acting Prosecuting Attorney
Cowlitz County Courthouse
Kelso, Washington                                                                                               Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 195

Dear Sir:

            This is to acknowledge your letter of November 14, 1951, in which you asked:

            "Does the Port of Kalama, under the laws of the State of Washington, have the authority to issue revenue bonds and construct a plant for the manufacture of hardboard?"

            Our conclusion is that a port district does not have authority to construct a plant for the manufacture of hardboard.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The pertinent statutory provision in respect to your inquiry is Rem. Supp. 1943, § 9692 (section 2, chapter 166, Laws of 1943), which provides in part as follows:

            "* * * to lay out, construct, condemn, purchase, acquire, add to, maintain, conduct and operate any and all systems of sea walls, jetties, piers, wharves, docks, boat landings, warehouses, storehouses, elevators, grain bins, cold storage plants, terminal icing plants, bunkers, oil tanks, ferries, canals,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] locks, tidal basins, bridges, subways, tramways, cableways, conveyors, together with modern appliances for the economical handling, storing and transporting of freight and handling of passenger traffic, and other harbor improvements, rail and water transfer and terminal facilities within such port district; * * * to acquire by purchase or condemnation, or both, land, property, property rights, leases or easements, and to improve such lands by dredging, filling, bulkheading, providing water ways or otherwise developing such lands for sale or lease by the port district as sites for mills, factories, ship yards and for other industrial and commercial purposes * * *" (Underscoring supplied).

            The first section of the above statute has been frequently amended to enlarge the scope of the powers of port districts.  However, even in its present form it appears clear that only by implication could it be said that a port district has the power to construct a hardboard plant.

            We recognize that the statutes herein involved are to be accorded a liberal construction.  We are also aware of the principle that if a power to do a certain thing is not expressly granted, or fairly implied, as essential to granted powers, such powers must be denied.  Griggs v. Port of Tacoma, 150 Wash. 402, 273 Pac. 521.

            Thus, if the authority to construct a hardboard plant is to be based on the first portion of the above statute, the question must be whether the power to construct a hardboard plant can be fairly implied as essential to any of the granted powers.  We think not.

            InState ex rel Hill v. Port of Seattle, 104 Wash. 634, 177 Pac. 671, it was held that the granted powers to operate "warehouses, storehouses, elevators, grain-bins, cold-storage plants, terminal icing plants" did not impliedly authorize the port to construct an ice plant to manufacture ice in excess of the port's needs.  (Underscoring supplied).

            Thus, if an ice plant for manufacturing ice in excess of the port's needs is not to be fairly implied from the power to operate and maintain "terminal icing plants," then, in our opinion, it cannot be said from the above statute that a port has implied power to construct a hardboard plant.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            InState ex rel Huggins v. Bridges, 97 Wash. 553, 166 Pac. 780, it was held that the phrase "rail and water transfer and terminal facilities" did not authorize the port to operate a belt line railroad.

            From the above two cases it appears to us that for a particular power to be fairly implied, it must be "indispensable to the declared objects and the purposes of the district."  Huggins v. Bridges, supra.  In our view, it cannot be said that a hardboard plant is "indispensable to the declared objects and purposes of the district."

            Whether the second portion of the above statute would authorize the construction of a hardboard plant depends upon the proper construction of the words "to improve such lands by dredging, filling, bulkheading, providing water ways or otherwise developing such lands for sale or lease by the port district as sites for mills, factories, ship yards and for other industrial and commercial purposes; * * *"

            In our opinion this language only authorizes the port district to acquire property and develop it by dredging, filling, and bulkheading, etc., so that it shall be suitable for sale or lease for the purpose of constructing mills and factories.  In other words, in our view, this language was not intended to empower the district to construct the mills and factories but only to acquire and develop land that will be suitable as factory and mill sites.

            This interpretation, we feel, follows from the application of the rule ofejusdem generis.  This principle of statutory construction provides that where general words follow specific words designating special things, the general words are limited to cases of the same general nature as those which are specified In Re Hoss' Estate, 59 Wash. 360, 109 Pac. 1071.  Applying the foregoing rule, the words "or otherwise developing" are limited to such things as "dredging, filling, bulkheading, providing water ways * * *."

            Accordingly, we conclude that the powers of a port district, as presently expressed, would not authorize the district to construct a hardboard plant.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

ROBERT L. SIMPSON
Assistant Attorney General

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