Photos: Graham Ignoffo’s Behind the Scenes Marine Tour

Graham Ignoffo didn’t start his journey at the Port of Portland near the water. In fact, he didn’t know the Port owned marine terminals until a position opened up on the marine security team.

“I was originally hired by the Port as a Parking Control Representative when I moved back home to Portland in 2008. I had worked as a Parking Enforcement Officer for the state of Idaho for the prior 8 years so it was a pretty natural fit,” Graham shared.

Two years into his tenure at the Port, however, Graham “jumped on the opportunity to retire my ticket book and transfer out to the Marine terminals.” His curiosity for the industry was a driving factor, and 11 years later, his love for the Marine side of our work is as strong as ever.

“I have always loved to be around water and thought ships were cool, but I had never really been exposed to the industry. My interest continues to grow the more I learn and am exposed to the maritime world.”

Like his colleague Brian Burk at PDX, Graham also has a passion for photography. Learn more about Graham’s role as a marine security officer and explore some of his favorite photos over the years.

What’s the coolest part of your job as a marine security officer?

I think the coolest part of our job is berthing the ships when they come into port. To be able to coordinate the movement and placement of a 900-foot-long, 50,000+ ton ship is pretty amazing. We also get to see and work with a wide variety of vessels. Everything from generic bulk cargo, to high-end cruise ships, to former US Navy Covert Ops Soviet Sub Hunters.

What’s one thing you do in this role that might surprise people?

I think it might surprise people how much we are involved in daily operations. We are essentially the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the terminals. We tend to be the ones who find hazards while on patrol and need to coordinate the appropriate people to deal with the situation. We assist crew members with transportation, communications back home, store deliveries, and everything in between that they could need. We deal with traffic control, lost people trying to find other locations in Rivergate, wildlife issues, emergencies on the river, vessels and on the terminal. We are much more than just ID checkers and door handle jigglers.  

We know you’re a great photographer! What are some of your favorite photos from the Marine terminals?

ANSAC Christine Nancy is being spun around in the Willamette river by Shaver Transportation tugs before backing into the slip at Terminal 4. She regularly calls on T-4 to export soda ash.

The Lonely Sailor: This sailor had been stuck on board the Morning Charlotte for over 12 months (normal crew contracts are 6-9 months) due to COVID-19 and had no idea when he would be allowed to return home. (Note: To learn how you can support sailors impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, check out the Pacific Coast Coalition for Seafarers.)

Morning Claire, a RoRo (Roll on, Roll off) vessel, sits idle at Terminal 6 below a full moon.

While visiting my sister in Beijing in 2019, I came across this Ford Mustang that was exported right from Terminal 6 to China. It was pretty cool to see an example of global trade that I had a hand in, in real life.

Seabourn Sojourn, a “pocket-sized” luxury cruise ship, was one of many to call on Terminal 2 in 2017.