The start of tunneling work on the Seattle waterfront could lead to closures of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as a safety precaution, according to the West Seattle Blog. As editor Tracy Record's big scoop notes, officials from other agencies recently began to raise the possibility of a closure of unspecified duration when tunneling starts. A decision could be made this spring. Last year, she notes, a press release had said that reinforcement work on the Viaduct would allow traffic to continue during the tunneling.
Bikers pedaling for McGinn
The Cascade Bicycle Club announced this morning that it has endorsed Mike McGinn for mayor. It's an indication that activists who supported him in 2009 are sticking with him, which could provide plenty of energy to ensure he emerges from the crowded August primary field as one of two November general election finalists. The local Sierra Club endorsed McGinn, its onetime leader, for re-election back in January.
The club is also endorsing Seattle City Council incumbents Sally Bagshaw, Richard Conlin and Mike O'Brien (disclosure: Bagshaw is married to the chair of Crosscut's Board of Directors, Bradley Bagshaw). The club said it will make additional endorsements later.
Boeing today said it will reduce its engineering workforce by 1,000 to 1,500 people by the end of the year. The Herald reports the first layoff notices will go out Friday. This follows last month's announcement that the company will reduce its machinist workforce by 800 people this year.
Ray Goforth, a representative of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, criticized the layoff and attrition plan here at a time when Boeing is hiring engineers for its design center in Russia. Boeing's long-term plans include additional engineering positions. This is just the latest in a growing pattern of Boeing jobs packing up out of Washington.
Fishing, the port and gentrification
Fishermen’s News sponsored today’s Bering Sea Fisheries Conference in Seattle, a major home to the nation’s Bering Sea Fleet. Crosscut Publisher Greg Shaw reports:
Mixing his metaphors a bit, Seattle Port Commission President Tom Albro told a gathering of commercial fishermen today in Seattle that “our barn is on fire.”
Albro, who comes from a farming family and admitted to never having sailed on a commercial fishing vessel, told the fishermen, ship-builders and maritime industry leaders that when your barn — or in this case a home dock and port — is on fire, you stop everything you’re doing to put it out. The fire in this case is what he described as encroachment of residential and retail space on maritime industrial land — gentrification.
While the fishing industry must tend to national and international environmental and safety regulations, he said, it’s also the home port the industry needs to be minding. He encouraged leaders to create a big tent movement, and to get involved in local politics.
While Albro cited condo associations as one example of those who are starting the fires, Seattle mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck fingered the proposed public arena. Steinbrueck said he’s all for the return of the Sonics, but he’s not for taking away important maritime industrial lands to build it. “The Sodo arena will take away industrial land,” and we need to protest that, he said.
King County and the city of Seattle have teamed up to keep shelter capacity at winter levels through June 15. That means a total of 215 beds will continue to be offered nightly at Seattle City Hall, the King County Administration Building and Angeline's Center for Homeless Women (2030 Third Avenue in Seattle). The beds had been set to close this week. A big factor in the extension was the appropriation of an extra $150,000 by Seattle City Council, according to County Executive Dow Constantine.
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