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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Port of Seattle

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November 12, 2014 at 6:32 AM

Why Washingtonians should care more about trade

Most people don’t think much about trade. Sure, we all know the goods we buy at the store had to come from somewhere, but do most people stop and think about where that somewhere is or how the movement happened? Probably not often.

I spent several hours Monday hearing from a variety of experts, business executives and politicians (including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray), discuss the role of trade in Washington and how to strengthen what is a vital industry in the state. The Washington Trade Conference pulled together a few hundred people who care, and know, a lot about trade.

A container ship entering the Port of Seattle. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

A container ship entering the Port of Seattle. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Let’s face it, trade isn’t the most riveting topic. But, here is a juicy tidbit gleaned from the conference: In Washington, about 40 percent of jobs are related to trade. That means close to 850,000 jobs in the state involve production of goods from apples to airplanes as well as transportation, handling and shipping of goods to other states or countries.

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Comments | Topics: jobs, Port of Seattle, trade

September 16, 2014 at 6:12 AM

Big expectations for Port of Seattle’s new CEO Ted Fick

New Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick.

New Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick.

The Port of Seattle installed a new CEO last week in what is proving to be one of the highest-profile public positions in the greater Puget Sound area. Ted Fick’s $350,000-a-year salary isn’t bad for government work – but he will face some rather big expectations to match. And eventually he’s going to have to deal with some pretty tough questions.

By now Fick knows what they are. He heard a fair number of them at the press conference that followed his appointment by the Seattle Port Commission. What are the prospects for a merger with the Port of Tacoma? What can the region do to maintain its current market share in container shipping? What about the challenges being posed by Canadian port developments, at Vancouver and Prince Rupert? By an expanded Panama Canal? By proposals to plunk high-traffic basketball arenas and “entertainment districts” right at the port’s front door?

Executive Fick offered a most political answer: “It is only my first day, and I look forward to understanding the issues better.”

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Comments | Topics: Port of Seattle, ted fick

August 8, 2013 at 6:39 AM

Did we really make the Port of Seattle pay for part of the tunnel?

Not paying for the tunnel.(The Seattle Times/Steve Ringman) Our news story, “Port OKs bond sale for tunnel project,” makes clear what should have been clear all along: that having the Port of Seattle “pay” for one-tenth of the Highway 99 tunnel doesn’t really mean that the profits or the wealth of the Port are funding…

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Comments | Topics: alaskan way viaduct, Port of Seattle

June 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Questions for Mayor Mike McGinn and his challengers? Share them with us

WILLIAM BOWEN / OP ART Sure, it’s summer and the last thing you want to do is think about politics. But it’s time again to do your civic duty. Campaign season is in full swing with a full slate of candidates challenging incumbent Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and incumbents in other races drawing worthy challengers. Last week,…

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Comments | Topics: 2013 elections, Bellevue City Council, Bellevue School Board

April 3, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Short takes on the Port of Seattle Commission finalists to replace Rob Holland

Tuesday evening I was the moderator at a forum of finalists for the Port of Seattle Commission. The five-member commission sets port policy and selects the CEO. Here there were four members — Tom Albro, Bill Bryant, John Creighton and Courtney Gregoire — sitting to select a fifth to fill the seat vacated by Rob Holland, who resigned.

It is an elected post in King County, so that whoever is appointed will be expected to raise money and campaign for the nonpartisan office when the term expires.

My task was to fill an hour and a half by tossing questions to six finalists: Stephanie Bowman of Seattle, executive director of the Washington Asset Building Coalition; Darrell Bryan of Seattle, CEO of Clipper Navigation; former state Sen. Claudia Kauffman of Kent, intergovernmental affairs liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe; Randy Loomans of Seattle, director of government relations for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302; Vicki Orrico of Bellevue, attorney and member of the Bellevue College Board of Trustees; and Keith Scully of Shoreline, an attorney and member of the Shoreline Planning Commission. A seventh, Nancy Wyatt, CEO of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, was traveling in China.

I was expecting some differences of opinion. The trouble was, these were finalists — and what’s more, they were angling for the votes of only four persons, all of them in the room. And that meant they all tended to have the same answers.

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Comments | Topics: Port of Seattle