Tuesday, October 16, 2012
ILWU plans to sue over location of new Seattle sports arena
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents about 3,000 longshoremen who load and unload cargo at the Port of Seattle, plan to sue the city and county over a plan to build another sports arena near Seattle's shipping terminals. They say traffic around the arena's proposed site will impede cargo movement to Port of Seattle facilities and threaten their jobs.
The union will challenge the agreement under the state's environmental-protection laws, which require the government to consider alternate sites and to take no decisive action on a project before an environmental analysis is completed.
They intend to file suit in King County Superior Court after the Seattle City Council and Metropolitan King County Council agree upon an amended contract with investor Chris Hansen to build a $490 million basketball arena with $200 million of public bonds. Both councils previously have approved the agreement, and will vote on the amended language.
"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. 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 ILWU, in a statement.
Well-known environmental attorney Peter Goldman and land-use lawyer David Mann are representing the union. Goldman said the court could void the agreement with Hansen in three to six months.
Hansen has spent $51 million to buy land south of downtown, near the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums, and he has said he's not interested in another location.
City Attorney Pete Holmes said Friday that the agreement with Hansen doesn't violate rules spelled out under the State Environmental Policy Act.
The Port of Seattle, which has opposed the SODO location, didn't weigh in on the lawsuit.
For more of the Seattle Times story: seattletimes.com
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