The local longshoremen’s union said today that it will file a lawsuit challenging plans to build a sports arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood. The group said the Sodo location jeopardizes jobs and freight mobility.
“Our union supports the return of the NBA to Seattle and we are not opposed to an arena somewhere in the Puget Sound region. But we cannot stand idly by while Mr. (Chris) Hansen and his well-connected lobbyists, along with our elected officials, build an arena in a location that threatens the livelihood of our members and many other workers in the maritime industry and Sodo,” said Cameron Williams, President of Local 19 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The group said it plans to file suit in King County Superior Court challenging the expected approval Monday of an agreement between Hansen and Seattle and King County to build a $490 million sports arena with $200 million in public bonds.
The group will challenge the memorandum of understanding, to be voted on by both the City and County councils on Monday, which calls for an environmental review of at least one alternate site to the Sodo location. Prominent land-use attorney Peter Goldman, who is representing the longshoremen’s union along with David Mann, said that the environmental review will be a “sham” because the memorandum names the Sodo location as the project site and because Hansen has spent $51 million to buy land there and said he isn’t interested in another location.
Because the agreement triggers a design process and Hansen’s search for an NBA team, Goldman said, it creates irreversible momentum for the Sodo site, in violation of state environmental laws which requires government agencies to consider alternate sites.