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Fishermen Voice Opposition to Opening Terminal

Sam Eaton

The Port of Seattle has moved forward with the first step of its plan to open part of Fishermen’s Terminal to recreational boats. But as KUOW’s Sam Eaton reports, fishermen opposing the plan are far from giving up the fight.

FISHERMEN AND THEIR SUPPORTERS PACKED INTO THE PORT COMMISSION’S MEETING YESTERDAY TO VOICE THEIR OPPOSITION TO SHARING FISHERMEN’S TERMINAL WITH RECREATIONAL BOATS. WHILE THE COMMISSIONERS INSIST THAT THE BEST INTEREST OF THE FISHERMEN IS BEING CONSIDERED, MANY LIKE PETER KNUTSON WHO TESTIFIED AT THE HEARING, ARE STILL SUSPICIOUS. I feel that the yacht issue is a part of a larger port strategy to change the industrial use of the terminal and open it to multi-use proposals for real estate sale or development, otherwise I don’t understand why the port would be so willing to go through a major public fight to put in one yacht dock that’s gonna generate a tiny, tiny amount of revenue. PORT COMMISSIONERS DISAGREE. THEY SAY THE MONEY FROM RECREATIONAL BOATERS IS NECESSARY TO FUND A BADLY NEEDED 35-MILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE TO THE TERMINAL. COMMISSIONER PAIGE MILLER SAYS THOSE IMPROVEMENTS WILL ULTIMATELY BENEFIT THE FISHING FLEET, WHICH WILL HAVE PRIORITY FOR MOORAGE AND USE. You will not see any proposal for a land use redevelopment, you will not see any proposal for a zoning change. It is not about changing the character of the facility, it’s about keeping this facility as a working facility. AT THE END OF THE MEETING THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CONTINUE FORWARD WITH THE PLAN. BUT COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS AND FISHERMEN WARN THAT IT WILL BE A CONTENTIOUS AND DRAWN OUT PROCESS. OUTSIDE, FISHERMAN PETER KNUTSON SAYS THEY’RE NOW CONSIDERING A MOVE TO GET THE VOTERS INVOLVED… Ultimately we’re gonna have to look at the same type of move that Victor Steinbruek and those people took to save the Pike Street Market, and that’s a citizens initiative to establish historic zoning at Fishermen’s Terminal and to preserve it. KNUTSON SAYS WITH 74-HUNDRED REGIONAL JOBS PROVIDED BY THE FISHING INDUSTRY AND OVER 400-MILLION DOLLARS IN WAGES AND SALARIES, IT WON’T BE VERY HARD TO GET THE VOTERS ATTENTION. SAM EATON, KUOW, 94.9, PUBLIC RADIO.