Highway to be named after legendary community and labor leader

March 7th, 2016|

A portion of State Route 509 will soon be named in honor of Philip Martin Lelli, longtime president of Tacoma Longshore Union 23 and a former Port of Tacoma commissioner, as the result of Senate Joint Memorial 8019 sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma.

On Friday, the bill passed the House, clearing its last hurdle in the legislative process. It now heads to the Washington State Transportation Commission for final approval.

“I am proud that this bill has passed the legislature,” said Conway. “Phil is one of the principal reasons that Tacoma has become one of the busiest and most important shipping ports on the west coast. He deserves to be recognized for his efforts by generations to come.”

An advocate for innovation, Lelli was known for his unprecedented role in attracting new businesses to the Port of Tacoma and transitioning it into one of the principal ports of entry on the Pacific Coast.

“He was a man who knew how to work together for the good of our community and the success of our state,” said Conway. “He should be honored for his generosity toward others and the collaborative work he did in making the Port of Tacoma a nationally recognized shipping center.”

Lelli was influential in his community as well, organizing Tacoma’s Hospitality Kitchen to provide lunches for the homeless.

A member of the Lelli family noted that the Port of Tacoma truly meant a lot to Phil and he would have felt honored by this recognition.