Coal ports push forward
Plans for a coal port at Longview received a boost Wednesday morning with the start of an environmental impact statement. The state Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County said the most detailed study will be of local environmental and health issues, but some attention will be paid to the statewide effects of increased pollution, including from climate-changing greenhouse gases. The study of global warming contributions was enough to provide some cheer to environmentalists opposed to sending coal to China. Ambre Energy, owner of the proposed Millennium terminal in Longview, has also received an Oregon state water-quality permit for a coal port it wants to build in Boardman. Crosscut's Floyd McKay reports on the developments here. — J.C.
A landscape architect's ideas for redesigning the Pike-Pine corridor could transform the central downtown. The Seattle Times reports that tall shrubs would eventually be gone from east-west streets to ensure views, a retail corridor would be created and sidewalks would become uniform. What, no crazy patchwork of differing overhangs? The plan was created for the Downtown Seattle Association. The city planning department has already accepted most of the ideas, developed by Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. Oh, and before activists start chaining themselves to any existing shrubs, Times writer Sanjay Bhatt notes that the city would continue to plant trees on north-south streets. (This item has been updated since it first appeared.) — J.C.
$15 freight train
A strong majority of Seattle voters are in favor of a $15 minimum wage, according to a newly reported poll. The Stranger’s Slog says the poll, which was conducted by EMC Research in January, found that the 68 percent of likely voters supported a minimum wage hike. There are strong feelings among many of the supporters, too: 35 percent of those surveyed said they “strongly support” the proposal; 14 percent “strongly oppose.” The Stranger's Goldy notes that the measure wins support with every demographic, except Republicans (yes, there are some in Seattle). Update 5:12 p.m.: The poll was apparently conducted on behalf of supporters of a higher wage. — M.C.
Look who's ridesharing
Spotted Wednesday afternoon outside City Hall at a Lyft rally sporting a fuzzy, pink mustache on his jacket: savvy public affairs strategist (and former Ed Murray campaign consultant) Sandeep Kaushik. He stood by as the rideshare app's cofounder, John Zimmer, took questions from reporters. Kaushik, asked if he is working with the company, said yes. A city council committee could vote Friday on a package of rules that restricts the number of rideshare drivers allowed to operate in Seattle. Lyft and other ridershare companies oppose limits. — B.L.
Construction workers found what is believed to be a tusk from an Ice Age mammoth while working at a site in South Lake Union Tuesday. A Transit Plumbing employee discovered the tusk while the company was working on a private project. According to The Seattle Times, since the tusk was found on private property, it’s up to the landowner to decide what to do with it. However, paleontologists at the Burke Museum have offered to excavate the tusk and provide scientists to study it. Christian Sidor, curator of vertebrate paleontology, calls this a “rare opportunity to directly study Seattle’s ancient natural history.” — M.C.
Joe Wells with the tusk he found/Jeff Estep photo courtesy of Transit Plumbing
Bellevue arts boost?
The long-discussed Tateuchi Center for performing arts in downtown Bellevue could get a boost from city government. According to the Bellevue Reporter, the City Council is considering whether to become a partner in the development. And, yes, partnership could include city funds. Councilmember Kevin Wallace says voters should have a say on that. — J.C.
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