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The Daily Troll: Brush fires slow traffic. Boeing looks to bring on robots. Portland's tree-huggers flop.

Pacific Place sold. Gov. Inslee talks up Moses Lake prospects.

Pacific Place sold

2:58 p.m. Seattle's Pine Street Group has sold the Pacific Place downtown shopping mall has to a real-estate investment firm based in the District of Columbia. The Seattle Times reports that an estimated $10 to $15 million from the sale will go to United Way of King County under a donation plan announced earlier by the investors in Pine Street. Madison Marquette owns or manages in at least 18 states. — J.C. 

Brush fires slow traffic

An overnight brush fire along northbound Interstate 5 near South 188th Street in SeaTac backed up traffic for 7 miles Monday morning, KIRO 7 reported. Later in the morning, a fire by I-5 in Fife north of Tacoma also slowed traffic, creating a four-mile backup for southbound travelers at one point before all lanes were reopened during the noon hour, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.

The SeaTac fire broke out just before midnight and spanned 200 yards alongside the road. The fire was contained at 1:30 a.m. but continued to burn throughout the night, according to the Seattle Times. Firefighters from Kent, Federal Way, the Port of Seattle, Boeing, Tukwila and SeaTac all fought the fire. The backup was still two miles at 11:40 a.m., according to  the Washington State Department of Transportation. There was no immediate word on a cause of the fire. — J.B.

Robots: Joining the Boeing workforce

Boeing said today that it’s in the final phases of testing new technology for building 777 fuselages, replacing people with robots to fasten fuselage panels together. Currently, fuselage panels are fastened together by hand with power tools, a repetitive and strenuous task that the company said accounts for more than half of all employee injuries on the 777 program. Within the next few years, Boeing plans to install the Fuselage Automated Upright Build technology in a new portion of Everett’s main factory. The company noted that it is preparing to build the new line of 777X airplanes there. — E.W.

Video from Boeing

New Japanese jet to take off from Moses Lake

Once upon a time, Moses Lake was largely rural. Now it’s a growing heavy industry and high-tech manufacturing hub with desirable runways (for planes not Prada). Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft will create a flight-test center in Moses Lake to test out its new jet next fall, The Seattle Times reports. The project will employ about 100 people and will involve technical support from Seattle-based company AeroTEC, which provides flight-testing and aircraft certification services. Mitsubishi was attracted to Washington’s aerospace expertise and Grant County International Airport’s new hangar, clear weather and long, uncrowded runways. At the Farnborough Air Show, Gov. Jay Inslee told The Times (which — Bravo! — is covering the show) that the project “sets up an infrastructure for airplane certification and testing that may lead to bigger and better things.” — E.W.

Time to yell “timber” to Portland’s tree-hugging record

More than 2,000 people embraced their tall, branchy friends in Nepal’s capital last month, breaking what had been Portland’s year-old Guinness World Record for most people hugging trees simultaneously. This weekend, Portland tried to but failed to to replant its reputation as the world capital of tree huggers. Only 599 huggers participated in this Saturday’s attempt, about 400 less than last year’s record setting event. “It’s not about the record at this point,” organizer Damon Schrosk told The Oregonian. “It’s about people having a good time and learning about the nonprofit groups we had.” Sounds like something a coach tells Little Leaguers after a tough loss: You played a great game, Portland! — E.W.


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