Video: Westside Awards presented at West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Murray keynotes

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.

And the Westsider of the Year, Josh Sutton of the West Seattle and Fauntleroy Y (WSB sponsor) and Rotary Club of West Seattle, with wife Susan and son Guthrie, who introduced him:

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.

11 Replies to "Video: Westside Awards presented at West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Murray keynotes"

  • dsa April 4, 2014 (9:14 am)

    Congratulations to the winners.

    Murray said as quoted above: “I absolutely believe we should have fewer parking spaces.”
    I don’t see much help from someone with that attitude.

  • Friend O'Dinghus April 4, 2014 (9:36 am)

    That caught my eye as well DSA. I am left wondering if somehow it was a missquote, or the Mayor didn’t understand the question, or misspoke his reply without realizing it. These microhousing buildings are a blight and are antithesis to good urban plannng.

    • WSB April 4, 2014 (9:44 am)

      Please don’t accuse me of misquotes – that’s a really serious accusation to make against a journalist, and if you believe I mis-quote people, then why would you even read this site, if you can’t trust my accuracy? The mayor’s entire speech is in the video clip if you would care to see for yourself, including both the context and the exact words. The question begins at 16:34 in; the parking-space comment is at 18:10. Thank you. – Tracy

  • Sutton April 4, 2014 (11:56 am)

    Wanted to thank WS Chamber for the recognition and a great event.
    You should watch the Mayor video – Murray’s comments were wide ranging and interesting.
    The other award winners were so inspiring – homespun businesses and non profits that make sure West Seattle continues to be a great community to live, work and enjoy!

  • Diane April 4, 2014 (1:04 pm)

    congratulations to Yale Wong for all your success; well deserved award

  • Diane April 4, 2014 (1:13 pm)

    Friend O’Dinghus said “I am left wondering if somehow it was a misquote”
    this does not look to me like a “really serious accusation to make against a journalist”
    it simply looks to me like a thoughtful kind question, that perhaps there was a mistake

  • LivesInWS April 4, 2014 (7:15 pm)

    Murray said as quoted above: “I absolutely believe we should have fewer parking spaces.”

    That’s taken waaaay out of context. Murray did say that, as well as saying that had to be first balanced by improved rapid transit solutions — which he admitted we don’t have now.

    He also said that the way to get people to drive less was not by punishing them, but by giving them valid alternatives. And right now there isn’t sufficient bus or other mass transit service in W Seattle or most other Seattle neighborhoods, as he said.

    He also said he was against buildings going up without any parking places.

    People, please listen to the whole thing yourselves. Murray’s not a bad speaker and he sounds unpretentious.

  • Diane April 4, 2014 (10:12 pm)

    @LivesInWS; thanks; I’m not able to access the video yet, so appreciate your description of some of the Mayor’s comments

  • Friend O'Dinghus April 4, 2014 (10:29 pm)

    Thank you Diane for your kind and thoughtful words. I indeed meant absolutely no offense by my inquiry. It had far more to do with the statement from the Mayor being pretty outlandish (imho), rather than any journalistic malfeasance. To describe what I wrote as an ‘accusation’ seems almost as over the top as the statement made by the Mayor. Wow.

  • Friend O'Dinghus April 4, 2014 (10:48 pm)

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, on my first reading of that particular sentence, my immediate thought was he may have actually said I absolutely believe we shouldn’t have fewer parking spaces…hence a misquote. Not because of a lack of journalistic professionalism, but due to an errant car horn, a noise from the kitchen, or a mumble on the Mayor’s part…
    I admit I did not watch the clip this morning as I did not have the available time. That is why I was reading the text instead. Apologies Tracy, I absolutely meant no offense to you or the hardworking staff at the West Seattle Blog.

    • WSB April 4, 2014 (10:57 pm)

      Sorry to overreact, it has been a really long week. Not complaining, we chose to do this, but yesterday in particular went: 7:30 am Chamber breakfast, to court for the last full day of courtroom presentations, then almost immediately to the doubleheader Design Review meeting. Settling down now to a dull roar. – TR

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