Terminal 5’s future: Opponents of drilling-fleet lease say they’ll ask Port Commission Tuesday to cancel it

(WSB photo: Terminal 5 as seen from east Admiral this afternoon)
Port of Seattle commissioners meet tomorrow for the first time since it was publicly disclosed that the port had signed the lease with Foss Maritime that will bring Shell‘s Arctic-drilling-fleet vessels to West Seattle’s closed-since-last-summer Pier 5. Port CEO Ted Fick signed it on February 9th, and the commission met on February 10th, but the signing wasn’t brought to light until a February 11th letter to the environmental coalition that had not only urged the port not to strike the deal, but held a media event hinting at legal action.

While the T-5 lease is not an official agenda item for tomorrow’s meeting, the opposition coalition plans to bring it up during public-comment time at the meeting, which starts at 1 pm in the Sea-Tac Airport conference room. Emily Johnston from 350 Seattle tells WSB, “Legal action is still definitely being considered, and we’re definitely moving forward in other ways as well: primarily, persuading the Port to rescind the lease, or to work with Foss to mutually abandon the lease, or to do whatever else they need to do *not to play a supporting role in Arctic drilling*. The Port is a public entity, and it has not been acting responsibly as such; at a minimum, they need to pull back and hold hearings. … Working on their process so that “next time” they know how to manage a controversial decision like this isn’t good enough: this particular decision is as consequential as any they will ever have, and they need to make the right one, and nix the lease.” The “process” refers to a directive given by commissioners when they agreed January 13th to let staff continue negotiating the lease, saying they needed to come up with procedures for policies that could guide staff in the future. A briefing on that potential process change is on tomorrow’s agenda.

We also sought an update today from Foss’s spokesperson, who had indicated that more details of the T-5 plan would be available by now. We haven’t heard back yet but will include anything that we do find out. Tomorrow’s commission meeting, meantime, is open to the public; the commission’s public-comment rules are here.

22 Replies to "Terminal 5's future: Opponents of drilling-fleet lease say they'll ask Port Commission Tuesday to cancel it"

  • Marsha February 23, 2015 (10:09 pm)

    WSB, if T-5 never gets funding for a remodel–are there outside ideas on what to do with this land? The port owns it, yes?

    Besides the usual park and condos idea, what about a NASCAR track? I know, I know…I can hear the boos, but from what i know about, a racetrack–it would be a big boon to the West Sea economy.

    • WSB February 23, 2015 (10:33 pm)

      The port is rather adamant that this is maritime land and maritime land it will stay. Nonetheless, you might as well keep the suggestions coming. Haven’t heard anyone suggest a race track before. Transit/other transportation uses, more common.

  • Mike February 23, 2015 (11:50 pm)

    Marsha, it’s not big enough for a NASCAR track. Daytona Speedway infield is half the size of all of Harbor Island, not just T5.

  • m February 24, 2015 (5:17 am)

    Golf driving range

  • Rick February 24, 2015 (5:45 am)

    Marsha,I like how you think.

  • Nora February 24, 2015 (6:01 am)

    Mike, I happen to agree with you, just not necessarily because of track size. There are a couple tracks that are only a half mile around. Something of that size could hypothetically fit on T5, but you then have to contend with parking for 250,000 people, noise ordinances, NIMBYs, and the nightmare of turning a dock into a suitable environment for the sport. Additionally, NASCAR doesn’t have the following up here that would be required to make that happen

  • Joe Szilagyi February 24, 2015 (6:44 am)

    Heh, how about a stadium for the Sonics? It probably helps get us light rail.

  • cj February 24, 2015 (8:09 am)

    The terminal is being modernized and that is expected to take years. In the mean time they are looking at ways to use it while its being updated. That being said I think race tracks might be a bit much lol. How about a food truck park?

  • Rcl February 24, 2015 (8:17 am)

    Joe! Awesome idea …..I had thought the site could be an amazing swap meet/flea market

  • slc February 24, 2015 (8:35 am)

    @Joe, brilliant!

  • HappyOnAlki February 24, 2015 (9:50 am)

    Yes! Food truck park combined with swap meet/flea market! I’m excited already!

  • WsEd February 24, 2015 (10:41 am)

    My prediction of the minutes.

    Opposition: Dear port commissioner could you please leave those dollars on the table and not do your primary job.

    Port commissioner: Righhhhhht no problem, as soon as Hades freezes over.

  • JAT February 24, 2015 (12:51 pm)

    My prediction of the minutes of a Seattle Port Commission meeting in 2214.
    blub… blub… blub…

  • Fiwa Jcbbb February 24, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    Seriously though…I’d be in favor of a NASCAR track so long as it also accommodated interesting forms of motor racing: Cars and Motorcycles that turn both ways.

  • sounderz February 24, 2015 (1:40 pm)

    Soccer only stadium for the Sounders! Maybe that would help expedite light rail (it wouldn’t).

  • wakeflood February 24, 2015 (1:42 pm)

    Even though I REALLY don’t want the drilling to happen, I can’t imagine the Port turning down cash in hand for a piece of property sitting idle for the foreseeable future. Much to my dismay, not to mention the planet’s.

    Not sure what it would take save a moratorium on Arctic drilling for it to not happen.

    Might come down to protesters parking their boats in front of the barges heading north.

  • wakeflood February 24, 2015 (1:57 pm)

    The problem is one of timing, unfortunately. Any other short or long term use isn’t ready to be revenue positive any time in the foreseeable future.

    Personally, I’m all about using a portion of T5 as a multimodal transit hub/Park & Ride with amenities (FOOD TRUCK COURT!) but there’s years worth of planning and environmental reviews (underneath all that asphalt is decades of seriously nasty stuff ya’ll) before any plan would move forward, much less be putting cash in the Port’s pocket. The Port’s going to be cashing checks from BP starting now and for years. Gulp.

  • rob February 24, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    How bout a transportation hub with a park and ride move the water taxi there plenty of parking. maybe even charge a couple bucks a day for the parking to higher lot attendants

  • acemotel February 24, 2015 (8:47 pm)

    I know pot is legal, but I’d prefer not to have the lot attendants too high.

  • Dale February 25, 2015 (7:39 am)

    Has it been established that the Port will be upgrading T5 so it can berth the huge container ships? I do recall seeing a preliminary cost proposal from the Port. I’m not sure that the number of these ships proposed and are sufficient enough to warrant such a huge investment. In other words, there seems to be a glut of small container ships that could complete the shipping just fine.

  • G February 25, 2015 (12:05 pm)

    350 Seattle? I would take 350 Seattle’s arguments more seriously if they didn’t cram their website with climate fear-mongering, as in the images of South Park flooding. Classic Al Gore stuff.

  • greenman February 27, 2015 (2:28 am)

    Foss is a local business that already contracts with Shell.They provide jobs those employees pay taxes the drilling is going to happen regardless.
    Why wouldn’t the Port Authority lease space to a local company that will use it and bring in more revenue all around.If you want to stop the drilling contact your political representatives.The port has an elected commission but this was done legalls under the authority of the executive side headed by the CEO.They serve one purpose to make revenue and manage the facilities. If Foss didn’t get T5
    then they would have aproaches another port.Better to build the local economy.Seattle can’t deny drilling in the Arctic even Alaska supports it.

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