Port of Oakland appoints first female Port Attorney

Oakland, Calif. – Dec. 13, 2019: For the first time in its 92-year history, a woman has been named Port Attorney at the Port of Oakland.  The Port’s governing Board last night appointed Michele Heffes as the head of its in-house Legal Department.

Ms. Heffes succeeds Danny Wan, the prior Port Attorney, who became the Port’s Executive Director Nov. 14.  A 31-year Port veteran, Ms. Heffes had been Interim Port Attorney while the Board sought Mr. Wan’s replacement.


Ms. Heffes advises the Port on legal affairs that arise in the conduct of its Maritime, Aviation and Commercial Real Estate businesses.  Her responsibilities include legal practice areas from litigation, real estate and labor to environmental compliance and insurance coverage.

“I’m honored to serve as the Port Attorney for the preeminent public institution in the Bay Area,” said Ms. Heffes.  “I look forward to working with the Board and executive management team in fulfilling the Port’s strategic priorities in a socially responsible manner.”

Ms. Heffes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.   She joined the Port in 1988 as an environmental scientist, became a Deputy Port Attorney in 1993, and held other positions in the Port Attorney’s Office including Assistant Port Attorney.  She has a law degree from the University of San Francisco.

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. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.

Media Contacts

Mike Zampa
Port of Oakland
Communications Director
(510) 627-1565
[email protected]

Marilyn Sandifur
Port of Oakland
Port Spokesperson
(510) 627-1193
[email protected]

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