Longshore union sues over arena
Friday, October 19, 2012
Longshore workers who depend on the movement of cargo in and out of the Port of Seattle filed suit Thursday in King County Superior Court over plans to build a new sports arena blocks from shipping terminals.
The lawsuit alleges that city and county officials approved a plan to build the arena in the industrial Sodo neighborhood without first completing an environmental review as required by law.
The complaint said the plan will create momentum in favor of the Sodo site, making the subsequent environmental review and consideration of alternate sites "a sham."
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said last week that it would challenge the memorandum of understanding approved Monday by the Seattle and King County councils, and signed Tuesday by Mayor Mike McGinn and county Executive Dow Constantine.
"Industrial lands need to be protected for the region and the future of the city. We don't need more traffic. We don't need more congestion," said Max Vekich, a member of the International Executive Board of the Longshore workers union.
The suit says the plan designates Sodo as the project site, and devotes 98 percent of the 38-page agreement to planning and financial terms that apply only to that site. The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the memorandum and ensure that the environmental review does not make the Sodo site "a foregone conclusion."
City Attorney Pete Holmes said this past week that the plan does not preordain Sodo as the arena site. City and county councilmembers said no siting decisions will be made until after the environmental, freight and traffic review, and consideration of one or more alternate sites.