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Port of Oakland names 13-year vet as new Port Attorney

Mary Richardson succeeds Michele Heffes who retires

Oakland, Calif. –: A veteran lawyer involved in every major Port of Oakland project over the last 13 years has been named Port Attorney. The Port appointed Mary Richardson, effective December 31, 2021, to succeed Michele Heffes who’s retiring. This appointment was made during last Thursday’s regular Board meeting. Ms. Richardson, who joined the Port in 2008, had been Assistant Port Attorney.

As Port Attorney, Ms. Richardson will manage a professional staff of attorneys, legal assistants, and secretaries responsible for advising Port management on a wide range of critical legal matters. Among other things, the Port Attorney’s Office assists in contract negotiations, litigation, and coordination with other public agencies.

“Mary has been involved in every important undertaking at the Port as far back as I can remember,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “We’re counting on her talent and experience as we map out our future.”

Port of Oakland names Danny Wan Executive Director - Port of Oakland

Ms. Richardson has provided legal counsel to the Port on key projects including:

  • Negotiations to build Cool Port and the Seaport Logistics Complex;
  • Grant funding for the shore power program at Oakland marine terminals to reduce pollution; and
  • BART connector and International Arrivals Building at Oakland International Airport.

The Port Attorney’s role is considered crucial since most Port facilities are operated by commercial partners under lease agreements. Port lawyers help negotiate and review complex deals.

Ms. Richardson is a graduate of Cornell University. She earned her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She began her career in Oakland as a Deputy Port Attorney.

Imports at the Port of Oakland are surging

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s 5-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 84,000 jobs.

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