SoDo Arena’s Necessary Occidental Avenue S Street Vacation Resurfaces

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Feb 022016

Street Vacation Hearings in March

Chris Daniels reported that Mayor Ed Murray has thrown some weight around to push the Occidental Avenue South street vacation forward to a vote.  Councilmember O’Brien has scheduled the public meeting at the “afterhours” time of 5:30 PM March 15th (sure to be more pep rally than discussion of the public’s value of the street) with subsequent potential subcommittee meetings on April 5th and 19th and, based on the subcommittee’s recommendation, a full council vote following as early as the 25th.  The street currently runs through the middle of Hansen’s proposed arena and would need to be removed to allow construction of the arena.

I am still looking for application documents related to the street vacation, but right now I’m only seeing this document related to designating Occidental Avenue S a Green Street in front of Centurylink and next to SafeCo’s parking garage. (UPDATE – see edit at bottom for a map of this one block street vacation).

The hashed green outline marks the newer green street designation.

The hashed green outline marks the newer green street designation.

The Occidental Avenue S street vacation is expected to only be granted with the acquisition of an NBA team, construction of an arena, pedestrian walkways, and many other improvements.  The county and city councils would still have to vote to issue bonds used to pay Hansen for the arena land and portion of the arena, but if that vote must occur prior to construction activity is something I’ll have to review.  As it stands now, the 5 year deadline on Hansen’s MOU expires in October 2017.

Seattle’s SoDo Arena – No Need to Rush

I will remind you that in May 2013, nearly 3 years ago, comments were along the lines of

“We think we’ll get through the EIS process at the end of the year, and then we’ll probably pay some appeals and (there will) be some things we need to mitigate,” Hansen said. “And we think it will be shovel-ready by this time next year.”

While Sacramento’s arena was, locally, viewed as being further behind in early 2013, with full motivation the Sacramento arena has pushed forward to a very complete state (live cameras here) with opening expected by October 2016.


Edit 2/4 – Documents related to the street vacation are trickling in.  This has a map.

Vacated street is the blue portion inside the arena project site outlined in red.

Vacated street is the blue portion inside the arena project site outlined in red.

Dow Constantine on NBA Arena

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Oct 052014

In this clip from the Seattle Channel’s Civic Cocktail program October 1st, Dow Constantine was asked about the NBA arena.


Dow is still thinking Hansen will bring basketball to Seattle, even without Steve Ballmer.  Then again, Dow and the county benefit greatly from a “free rider” position in the NBA arena if only one team, the NBA, is signed on by the time the building is completed.

NHL Continues to Stir the Pot, DPD Review Stagnates

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May 142014

As local sports reporter Chris Daniels put it –  “This is the strongest sign yet of the National Hockey League’s interest in putting a franchise in Seattle.”

NHL head honchos Gary Bettman and Bill Daly flew to Seattle last week (came to Seattle first for a playoff game in LA?) and met with Mayor Murray and Exec Constantine to obtain a status report on the new arena.  Oddly, the president of the Seattle City Council (you know, that group that historically is at odds with half-assed plans out of the Mayor’s office and actually needs to vote to go forward on any arena deals), Tim Burgess wasn’t invited.

Daniels also provided an updated timeline on the environmental review for Hansen’s arena.  Once anticipated to be ready around late 2013, the lost Kings pushed expectations back to late summer, and now “sometime in fall, if we get moving again”.

Bryan Stevens, spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, said on Tuesday that the environmental review on the project is now not scheduled to be completed until “sometime this fall”.  He added, that he believed, that there had been “no measurable movement” in the last few weeks. 

Seattle Department of Planning and Development Works Quickly ?

 Lawsuit  Comments Off on Seattle Department of Planning and Development Works Quickly ?
Dec 052012

I noticed that the Preliminary Assessment Report for the SoDo arena was completed on 10/12/2012.  That’s several days before the final MOU vote was made.  Talk about efficient!

Assessment completed October 12, before the revised MOU was voted on by all parties on October 15th.

For those keeping track of the timeline of votes, King County Council voted on the MOU on the same day that Seattle City Council said they needed to change the draft MOU – 7/30/2012.  Seattle City Council introduced changes to the MOU, passed it from the subcommittee, and then it was voted on by the full council and passed 6 – 2 on 8/24/2012.  King County and Seattle made some further tweaks to the MOU and passed that revised version of the MOU by  9 – 0 and 7 – 2, respectively, on 10/15/2012 .


Both Councils Pass Latest MOU

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Oct 152012

King County Council voted first today.  9-0 with Peter von Reichbauer and Reagan Dunn switching their former “NO” votes to “YES”.  When I get a chance to post the videos maybe we can see what changed their mind to make this a great deal for public financing.

Seattle City Council voted a bit later.  All hands on deck but the vote still ended up with 2 opposed and 7 for.  Conlin and Licata held true to their previous reasons for agreeing this is a better deal, but one that ultimately isn’t a match for the real function of government.

In related news, the Seattle portion of arena bonds being from non-voted councilmanic debt issuance take a big chunk out of the debt the council can issue within their established limits.  If the seawall bonds fail and the debt needs to be issued from the councilmanic debt side the account will be pretty much tapped out, if not over limit.


The videos of the councils are mostly up, Seattle Channel’s coverage cuts off the real vote on the arena.  We have some clips of the 10/16 MOU signing by McGinn, Dow, and Hansen.  McGinn believes he is signing legislation to “Bring Back the Sonics [and get in bed with David Stern’s NBA]”.

Another Round of MOU Amendments, Final MOU Vote Scheduled for Monday

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Oct 102012

On Tuesday October 9th the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee added a few more amendments to the circulating arena MOU.  The revised MOU was passed by the subcommittee (McDermott, Lambert, Hague, Patterson, and Phillips present and voting to promote from subcommittee).  This is the usual subcommittee vote that happens before a full council vote, and was the step deemed unnecessary way back when King County wanted to put pressure on Seattle to act.

The revised MOU and ILA are linked to individually, as well as redlined versions of the revised MOU and ILA.  There’s some more summary pages on the King County Council’s staff report linked to here.  Video of the meeting is not yet posted.


Both Seattle City Council and King County Council are slated to vote on the arena MOU on Monday October 15th.

Joe McDermott Needs a Raise ?

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Aug 272012

Joe McDermott is the leader of the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee.  He’s also the one that decided to put pressure of the Seattle City Council by “going first” and passing the arena…  provided they vote again on any amendments that Seattle would introduce  aka  the Theater Vote.

Apparently the $135k/yr salary the King County Councilmembers make isn’t enough to pay for a 3 week continuing education course at Harvard.  Here’s how to apply for your own (now) $11.8k/yr course that promises to give you connections to a vast network of alumni/the Harvard cult.  The program wants to help you “convert your head learning to your gut.

How Politicians Use Extra Campaign Cash

Joe McDermott, a Democratic member of the Metropolitan King County Council, used $5,600 to pay for his tuition at Harvard…

McDermott, the King County councilman, said the courses he took at Harvard in 2009 were continuing education. McDermott said the courses provided him tools to better serve in government and were more valuable than a new office desk or chair.

“It was the most profound learning experience I’ve had in my life — not just my career,” McDermott said. “The tools I get there do far more than the nice chair I’m sitting in now.”

Come now Joe, was your “Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs” really outdone by a 3 week seminar at Harvard ?


ILWU #19 Letter to Seattle City Council

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Aug 222012

As reported by Save Our SoDo Jobs, the ILWU #19 has sent a letter to the Seattle City Council asking for further consideration of a number of alternate sites and object to the reactionary position they’re being forced into.  It also acknowledges that shipping companies leasing Pier 46 are weighing the arena proposal into their lease negotiations.

Download ILWU #19 Letter