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July 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

King County Council approves arena proposal

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Council Chair Larry Gossett and Kathy Lambert say they’ll vote in favor of the arena deal, which seals the deal. The 6-3 vote was taken to applause from the audience.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Peter von Reichbauer says he’ll vote no. Joe McDermott indicates he will vote yes.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Three Council Members — Julia Patterson, Bob Ferguson and Jane Hague — quickly declare their support, citing protections for taxpayers and the power of sports to bring people together.

Larry Phillips, who has been most skeptical along with Peter von Reichbauer, says sports is critically important to community, but the stewardship role of the council to protect the public purse and industrial lands also is important. He said he’ll vote no.

Reagan Dunn, also said he’ll vote no, saying he’s still hung up on the location and the Port of Seattle as an economic engine. He said he hopes the issues can be worked out.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: Additional amendments have dealt with securing the rights to the Sonics name, offering reduced-price tickets, supporting the Seattle Storm and requiring an economic analysis. The discussion is continuing.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: Council members are now taking up amendments.

The first one, sponsored by Jane Hague, would insert a statement saying that, consistent with the King County Strategic Plan, the county “commits to working collaboratively with the Port of Seattle throughout the development and operation of the arena…”

The second amendment is related. Sponsored by Kathy Lambert, it commits the county and Port of Seattle to work together to obtain from the state a heavy haul corridor designation.

Both passed unanimously by voice vote. Additional amendments are being discussed.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.:  After two hours of testimony — that strayed at times to topics such as homelessness, emergency response and medical marijuana — the public comment period has ended and King County Council members are discussing the details of the Sodo arena agreement.

A vote will follow.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Metropolitan King County Council this afternoon is discussing the memorandum of understanding for the Sodo sports arena proposed by investor Chris Hansen. The council is expected to vote on the agreement after discussion.

The 10th floor chambers are packed, with many in the crowd wearing Sonics’ green and gold. There is space on the ninth floor for the overflow crowd.

Linda Styrk, managing director of the seaport for Port of Seattle, said “we think it’s too early to enter into binding agreement ”

Keith Weir, officer with the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council, called the arena “a life saving opportunity for my members.”

If the King County Council approves an agreement with the city and private investors Monday, Seattle City Council President Sally Clark said that would not hurt the bargaining position of the city, which is trying to get more out of ongoing negotiations with Hansen.

“The city is now in the lead in negotiating,” Clark said.

Earlier today, about a dozen union, shipping, business and environmental advocates gathered to reiterate concerns about the proposal’s impact on maritime industry jobs.

We’ll have updates here throughout the discussion.

Comments | More in General news, Government, Sports | Topics: Chris Hansen, King County Council, Seattle City Council


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