I have been blogging about South Park, and the South Park Bridge. I couldn’t understand how this important roadway over the bridge could be cut. South Park and the surrounding communities are mainly immigrant, poor, and people of color. Well, the bridge is closed, and I am having to move my attention out of the neighborhood to find out why. All roads seem to lead back to the Port of Seattle.
New Port Director Tay Yoshitani has been running the Port since 2007. The old Port Director was driven out over corruption. The new Port director was brought in specifically on the resume of being an infrastructure developer. In his old job he oversaw major renovations in the Port of Oakland. He is in the process of major renovations in Seattle. I figured out today what he is up to. It starts with the Alaskan Way Seawall Replacement, but involves using money for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement. The first section of work is the key. It gives his scheme away.
The terminal you are looking at on the left, is Hanjin Shipping, a large South Korean shipping company. Sea-Land used to operate out of here, but got tired of having to drive down Alaskan Way. Sea-Land moved to Tacoma, and is quite happy. Tacoma is the Western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Seattle almost died when Tacoma was chosen in 1873 for it’s terminus. Seattle still hasn’t gotten over it. The space available in this area is very narrow geographically. Seattle is better off just being a Airplane, Bio-Tech, and Software town. But no, Seattle has to be the center of everything, regardless of the cost.
Look at the blue square with the B. That is an overpass that connects it with Atlantic Street. To make the roadways you see in the picture, is expected to cost about $300 million dollars at least. The Governor arranged for even more money to be spent converting Atlantic Street into a 4/5 of a mile highway.
–“Gregoire celebrated the completion of the new S. Royal Brougham Way bridge, a signature feature of the SR 519 Intermodal Access project located between Seattle’s sports stadiums. The bridge eliminates the at-grade crossing of the railroad tracks on Royal Brougham for vehicles and pedestrians. The April 12th bridge opening will be followed in May by the opening of the new I-5/I-90 westbound off-ramp to S. Atlantic Street/Edgar Martinez Drive S providing an important freight connection to the waterfront and Port of Seattle terminals. “—
By waterfront, she means Hanjin’s Terminal. The one that supplies $11-$12 an hour trucking jobs. Suck pay for Seattle. No tax collection on that kind of pay.
Contained within this is a seawall project supposedly. That is handled by the City of Seattle (for the benefit of the Port, a seperate entity). The Port has contributed money, but towards the Sea-Wall or the overpass, I am not sure.
The City isn’t clear. I photographed the Sea-Wall, which is actually a concrete wall. The graphic of the project shows a steel sheet pile wall (1). Look at second graphic to see sheet pile wall. Are what they doing is paying to replace Hanjins sea-wall? Is it a careless graphic?
I am counting up about $500 million dollars to provide a foreign shipper easy access to I-90 with non-union truckers. Dave Beck and Harry Bridges went to war over this kind of stuff. Epic battles in Seattle. If $12 is what you get for trucking, they were damn well right to fight the way they did. Buncha government cheapskates. The Port is planning on asking Seattle voters to add $75 a year to their property taxes to re-imburse the Port. Why should voters do that? The cost gets passed on to renters as well. If you rent, you are not spending someone else’s money. Your Landlord passes it on to you. When your rent goes up, their is usually a tax assesment behind it. Did I mention the Tax Assessor and the Port Commisioner are one in the same person? Lloyd Hara.
The Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports has a problem with it too. These truck are diesel belching third world standard stuff from the ’70’s. A loophole allows them to by the old junk and drive it off the Port property and down I-90 to any destination in any state. A loophole in Federal legislation allows this.
–“This is unconscionable,” said Brady Montz, Chair of the Seattle Group of the Sierra Club, “For years, the Port of Seattle has claimed that our outdated federal laws limit their ability to protect Seattle’s neighborhoods from polluting trucks; and now it turns out that Tay Yoshitani is working behind the scenes to prevent the Port from even having the option to enforce environmental standards for trucking companies.”
It gets worse
–“Last October, Yoshitani announced that the Port of Seattle had not taken a formal position on the amendment and the Port of Seattle’s commissioners have not approved Yoshitani’s anti-environmental positions in a public vote. However, according to lobbying disclosure forms, the Port of Seattle was paying a K-street lobbying firm to fight against it. The firm, McBee Strategic Consulting, gets up to $300,000/year from taxpayer funds for its work.”–
McBee also lobbies for Boeing. The following is a little dated, since they closed the bridge, but it shows the effect of the Port and Neighborhoods without Lawyers as residents. Essentially, it dumps on them.
–“The Port of Seattle’s current truck program sets relatively weak air pollution standards, ignores exploitive workplace conditions, does little to deal with trucking impacts on the South Seattle neighborhoods of Delridge, Georgetown and South Park, and forces workers to personally bear the costs of new clean air technology, parking regulations, and other requirements. ”
Cascade Bicycle Club is conspicuosly missing in the signatories. They get a nice bike lane along the waterfront.
The burden of running a seaport also gets dumped on these neighborhoods, as well as higher property tax rates, not to mention they lie between two airports, and all the noise it brings. There is no benefit to the south half of Seattle, or Southwest King County. As a matter of fact, the port is a money loser. It gets 1/8th of it’s income from assessments on property deeds already and barely breaks even. It has lost 8% of it’s volume last year, whereas the Port of Tacoma maintained it’s load.
I blamed much of the spending on the Mercer Street Project on the MicroSoft Boys. I may have been less than fully accurate in why they subsidized the re-structuring of the street. It also makes a convenient cut-across for the Ports Western Ave. properties.
Redstaters, the Port needs to thank-you as well. You have contributed many of your tax dollars supporting the Port of Seattle as well.
–“The money is part of a $1.5 billion fund created by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that will go to Mercer Street and some 50 other winning projects announced by the federal Department of Transportation…But once again, the crumbling South Park Bridge just outside Seattle has been left out.”—
Cascade Bike Club gets another lane along Mercer.
Left out again is the poorer, colored, more southern sections of the City. Not a single stimulus dollar to be seen. The City is full of self-indulgent rich white trash. And the Port of Seattle is at the bottom of it.