Photos/video by Patrick Sand
Story by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
“All businesses need a voice,” said West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board chair Nancy Woodland, toward the start of this morning’s Westside Awards breakfast at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). “We get so much more done, coming together, and that is the value of your Chamber of Commerce … where your voice can join other voices and be heard throughout the city.”
One proof of the citywide audience – the keynote speaker was Mayor Ed Murray, who lived in West Seattle in childhood:
Later in this story, you’ll see our video of what he had to say, and how he answered questions from those in attendance – but this story is about the Westside Award winners, first announced one week ago.
Being part of the Chamber means visibility, Woodland added, and that’s certainly one benefit of the annual Westside Awards. The video atop this story features the entirety of today’s presentations, so you can hear for yourself what they said. We took photos, too:
Westside Business of the Year, for General Biodiesel, was accepted by founder Yale Wong:
He and team members posed out on the Salty’s deck afterward:
Wong said GB now recycles oil from 3,000 restaurants around the Northwest.
Westside Emerging Business of the Year, for Second Gear Sports, a consignment shop for sports, exercise, and fitness gear, was accepted by proprietor Mark Bremen:
Bremen said that in just 7 months of operation, they’ve already had 400 consigners and thousands of items.
Westside Non-Profit of the Year, the West Seattle Food Bank – here’s their team picture:
The Food Bank helped more than 37,000 families last year alone.
This was the first awards breakfast since Lynn Dennis became CEO.
Now, to the keynoter: Mayor Murray touched on several of the topics we discussed with him in our recent interview – especially transportation. This morning, he declared that West Seattle’s mobility issue was the city’s top transportation problem. Hear for yourself in our video of his remarks; he was introduced by the Chamber’s past chair, Dave Montoure:
He touted this Saturday’s Neighborhood Summit, 9 am-1 pm at Seattle Center, as an opportunity “to decide how we want to reinvent our city’s relationships with our neighborhoods.” He mentioned 500 people had RSVP’d as of this morning, and given the Northwest proclivity for procrastination, “we expect that number to grow.”
Regarding transportation, and the infrastructure needed to support growth, Murray got in a plug for Proposition 1, the buses-and-roads ballot measure, saying, “First of all, we have to preserve the transit we have … it’s incredibly important.” If Prop 1 doesn’t pass on April 22nd, he declared, “not only will people suffer in this city, people will suffer in the county.” He also promoted his outreach for opinions on the search for a new city transportation director and what people “are looking for from SDOT.” That’s when he said the “tough decisions going forward” included “how are we going to fund a rapid transit system from West Seattle into the rest of the city? While Sound Transit has plans, they are decades away. I don’t believe we can wait decades. It might be a grade-separated bus route that eventually (becomes) a light rail route. We need to look at how we manage the West Seattle (Bridge).”
And after declaring this the city’s #1 transportation problem, he mentioned the Highway 99 tunnel trouble, saying he thinks it’ll take at least nine months to get going: “While I wish this hadn’t happened, I’m glad it happened earlier on.”
He went through other issues – Seattle Police, which, he mentioned has “the most diverse police command staff in the history of the city” right now.
Taking a few questions from those in attendance, he was asked about density without much parking – also an issue we discussed in our recent interview – and, as he said to us, he said the comprehensive-plan review (Seattle 2035) is one way to look for a balance, though, he said, “I absolutely believe we should have fewer parking spaces.”
In a non-WS question, he was asked about people openly smoking marijuana in Pioneer Square. He said openly smoking pot or drinking alcohol are both illegal and they are working on being able to arrest those who do it.
NEXT CHAMBER EVENT: Even if you are not a Chamber member, you are welcome at their events – next up, a briefing by King County Metro during the monthly lunch, 11:30 am next Thursday, April 10th, at The Kenney (WSB sponsor) – register here.