In addition to Senator Magnuson, Mayor Wes Uhlman (b. 1935) and City Councilwoman Jeanette Williams (1914-2008) were guests of honor. Both had both worked to create the park and to close down the existing airport at the site.
Picketers criticized the closing of the airport and the location of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Western headquarters nearby. It was also considered unusual to name a park for a living person.
The Navy had declared the land at Sand Point surplus. Part of the land (100 acres) became the Western headquarters of NOAA. Another 195.6 acres land became Warren G. Magnuson Park.