City Council approves naming new Port of Long Beach education center after former Congressman Alan Lowenthal

The $19 million center will include interactive learning displays and show the history of the port, which was one of the focuses of Lowenthal's work while in office.

City Council approves naming new Port of Long Beach education center after former Congressman Alan Lowenthal
A person walks into the Port of Long Beach administration building in Downtown Long Beach. Photo by Jason Ruiz

A third-floor education center inside the Port of Long Beach’s Downtown headquarters will officially be known as the Congressman Alan Lowenthal Global Trade and Education Center after the City Council approved the renaming Tuesday night.

The new $19 million center was announced by port Executive Director Mario Cordero during the annual State of the Port address in January. The center is expected to have interactive exhibits, a 3D map of the port and a timeline of events since its opening in 1911.

The council voted unanimously to name the center after Lowenthal.

Lowenthal started his career in politics as a member of the Long Beach City Council in the 1990s before moving on to stints in the California Assembly and Senate. He spent the last 10 years of his political run in the House of Representatives.

Officials have tied the naming of the center after Lowenthal to his well-documented career advocating for environmental policies at all levels of government he served.

Some of those policies resulted in cleaner operations in and around the port complex in Long Beach by limiting the amount of time trucks can idle and the reduction of dust from petroleum products in transit.

Former Congressman Alan Lowenthal speaks to the City Council during its April 23, 2024 meeting where it voted to approve the naming of a port education room after Lowenthal. Photo by Jason Ruiz

On Tuesday, Lowenthal recalled that during his first campaign, he had a number of people asking what the black soot on their window sills was. He said the first thing he did when he entered office was sue the city of Los Angeles over the uncovered piles of petroleum coke that carried pollutants into the West Long Beach community.

“I said at the time we can have economic development and clean air,” Lowenthal said Tuesday. “They’re not incompatible.”

The council originally took up the renaming issue in early April but needed to send it to a council committee for further discussion. City policy generally prohibits naming city-owned assets after people who are still living.

The policy, however, does include exceptions when a person has provided a significant contribution to the city, monetary or otherwise, that allows for a deviation from the policy.

Mayor Rex Richardson said there is no better person for the center to be named after, calling Lowenthal a “neighbor who stepped up” and been a champion for Long beach for decades.