West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo, substituted for original phone photo)
6:50 PM: For the past two hours we’ve been just outside Terminal 18 on Harbor Island, where protesters and police have been in a standoff since mid-afternoon. It’s a replication of the current Middle East flashpoint, the Israel/Palestine conflict. An Israeli-owned ship, the Zim San Diego, docked at Terminal 18 on Saturday after a week at anchor in Elliott Bay. The protesters, supporters of Palestine, want to prevent the ship from being unloaded. They’ve been marching and chanting in intersections at/near 13th SW/SW Florida just west of T-18.
(WSB photo, substituted for original phone photo)
A sizable deployment of Seattle and Port police warned them repeatedly to get out of the road or face arrest. As of our departure about 15 minutes ago, they had yet to arrest anyone, but as we wrote this, SPD tweeted that they’ve just made 10 arrests. Several vehicles turned around just short of the protest after protesters approached the drivers to talk to them, although police warned the demonstrators not to do that. There were roughly 100 demonstrators when we arrived; the number fluctuated as they switched intersections and at one point sat in the street. Police used the LRAD speaker to warn them; adding to the clamor are several evangelical Christian counter-demonstrators with a loudspeaker. (Added: You can hear them in the background of this short clip when bicycle officers moved in at one point; no arrests resulted that time.)
Other groups of protesters have led similar demonstrations at other West Coast ports including Oakland and Prince Rupert, B.C.
9:39 PM: The Northwest Seaport Alliance has published a statement saying port and city police are “are providing a safe zone for protesters to ensure individual expression is protected and port operations are not impeded.” There’s been no word of further arrests, nor whether the ship is being unloaded.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One day after Terminal 5‘s four big new cranes arrived from China, port managers gave us and other media a close-up look. While at T-5, we talked with construction managers about the status of the nine-digit dock-modernization project on West Seattle’s eastern shore.
But first, the most frequently asked question: How and when are they taking the 316-foot cranes off heavy-lift ship Zhen Hua 36? SSA, the T-5 north-berth tenant – and the cranes’ owner – says they’ll be rolled off starting Wednesday and, if all goes well, finishing Saturday.
While we were there this morning, crews were working to cut the cranes free of the supports to which they’d been welded for the cross-Pacific journey.
You’ve probably heard a few stats about the cranes. Here are a few more. T-5 handled cargo until 2014, and the tallest cranes it had previously had a “lift over rail” of 115 feet – compared to 175 feet for the new ones – and a reach of 145 feet, compared to 240 feet for the new ones. Take a look up at them with us:
Which shipping lines will those cranes serve first when SSA opens T-5’s north berth early next year? SSA’s Bob Watters, there today for media Q&A, said that hasn’t been decided yet.
The company deals with all the major lines at its terminals around the world; this terminal will be “ready for the next generation of vessels.” Much of the north-berth work is complete; a major task under way now, as we saw this morning, is paving.
We spoke there with construction manager Jonathan Ohta, who talked about the challenges they’ve faced during the project – the paving’s been one of them, as they’re integrating new construction with the old terminal, and that’s meant grade differentials which in turn have resulted in drainage difficulties.
The past few days’ major rainfall left evidence of that, with serious puddling in spots.
Other technical challenges resulted when crews discovered unanticipated conditions. And in-water work has required waiting for “fish windows” – for example, to drive piles for a new “toe wall” along the berth (an “underwater retaining wall,” Ohta explained) they needed to order a special type of pile driver unlike any used before. The pile-driving has to wait for the next “fish window” in August; that will be followed, if all proceeds as planned in the permitting process, with dredging to make the water at the berth five feet deeper (55′ compared to the current 50′).
Ohta said a major point of pride has been continuing work throughout the pandemic while maintaining rigorous COVID safety standards. Right now, the north berth is on track for “substantial completion” by year’s end. The south-berth work is already under way, too.
Some parts of the project are serving both berths, like the new electricity infrastructure, so ships will be able to plug in to shore power.
The most-recent timeline estimates, beyond the north berth’s opening early next year, include opening the south berth by the end of next year, and completing the dredging by March of 2023. The project is under the auspices of the Northwest Seaport Alliance – the joint Seattle-Tacoma port authority – whose managing members (port commissioners) are scheduled to get the next major project briefing at their July 6th meeting.
10:27 AM: First look at the four big new cranes on their way to Terminal 5 in West Seattle:
Thanks to Mike York for sending us that photo from north of Kingston. The Zhen Hua 36 is currently at 10 knots so it’s probably still an hour-plus away from coming into view off West Seattle. We’ll be updating.
11:07 AM: Lynn Hall on Duwamish Head says they’re in view.
11:24 AM: Now entering Elliott Bay. Thanks to Carolyn Newman for first word on that, and David Hutchinson for this photo as the heavy-lift ship rounded West Point on the northwest edge of the bay:
11:40 AM: The 316-foot-tall cranes are now in view from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, a park which will afford a long stretch of viewing as they approach Terminal 5.
12:14 PM: Now headed toward the docks. Next good waterfront vantage point – Jack Block Park.
12:45 PM: The ship has now arrived at T-5. At the Jack Block Park overlook, watching the final leg of the journey, we found a watch party of sorts – longshore workers for whom the T-5 project means new work. The terminal has not been in regular cargo service since 2014.
P.S. More photos later, and we’ll also have a followup tomorrow, when port officials and others are scheduled to have a media briefing.
Want to watch the four big new cranes for Terminal 5 arrive off West Seattle? The Port of Seattle says they are expected here this Sunday, three weeks after leaving China. They are super-post-Panamax cranes, 316 feet tall with 240-foot outreach booms, so – like the four cranes shipped to Tacoma two years ago – it’ll be quite a sight. Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB that the arrival of Zhen Hua 36, carrying the cranes, is expected by noon Sunday. The Northwest Seaport Alliance – the joint Seattle-Tacoma port authority that’s overseeing the T-5 project – says the first “modernized” berth at T-5 will open early next year; the cranes will belong to the berth’s tenant, SSA Marine.
A quick end-of-day note from Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw: “Uplands pile driving is complete on Terminal 5. We were supposed to go through the summer, but we finished early.” The next full progress report for the modernization project on West Seattle’s eastern waterfront is expected at the Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members’ meeting in early July. Before then, four giant new cranes for T-5 are expected to arrive in June; their cross-Pacific journey began last weekend.
That’s a screengrab of the tracking map launched by the Northwest Seaport Alliance now that the four big new cranes for Terminal 5 are on their way to West Seattle. We reported two weeks ago that they were about to start their cross-Pacific voyage, and this afternoon, the NWSA announced the journey is under way. The super-post-Panamax cranes, 316 feet tall with 240-foot outreach booms, left Shanghai on Sunday aboard Zhen Hua 36, a vessel owned and operated by the cranes’ manufacturer, ZPMC. The trip is expected to take about a month and will be tracked here; the cranes belong to SSA Marine, first tenant for the modernized Terminal 5, scheduled to get back to regular cargo operations early next year.]
Remember that sighting off West Seattle two years ago, as four massive new cranes passed by on their way to Tacoma? As we’ve been reporting in our coverage of briefings on the Terminal 5 project, a similar sighting is expected soon – and this time West Seattle is the destination. Northwest Seaport Alliance project-team members have told local community groups that the cranes’ voyage would take about four weeks, and that they were expected to arrive in June, so we checked in today with NWSA spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh. She says the four new T-5 cranes, also made in China by ZPMC, are expected to ship out later this week, with arrival expected the week of June 14th. Stambaugh says NWSA will announce the departure and plans to track the cranes’ progress. The first of two berths at T-5 is expected to go into service next year.
Progress reports comprised most of this month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting:
BRIDGE UPDATES: Heather Marx, director of the West Seattle Bridge Safety Program, led the briefing. The schedule hasn’t changed – construction of repairs starting by year’s end, completion by “mid-2022.” As we reported a week and a half ago, they’re reviewing six applicants for the project, “and hope to have a decision we fan announce in May.” The next official schedule/budget update should be in “early July,” Marx added, Monitoring is still going well.
Seattle Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins announced today that he’s running for a second 4-year term. Calkins, who works as a business consultant, says economic recovery from the pandemic-caused hardships will be a priority. He lists job creation as a focus. His announcement also says he “is running to build on his commitment and track record as a climate champion and advocate for mitigation and cleanup in communities that have historically suffered the impacts of pollution, dislocation, and development.” Calkins, an Eastlake resident, holds Position 1 on the commission; so far no one else has registered a campaign for that seat. The formal filing period, however, isn’t until next month. Commissioners are elected in a countywide vote.
Three weeks ago, we reported that the pier at port-owned Jack Block Park in West Seattle [map] – closed for months because of safety concerns – might need to be rebuilt. Our report included the port’s promise that a survey would be launched to get the community’s thoughts about options. Today, that survey is open – starting here. It’s short, asking how often you visit the park, what you do there, and what you would consider important (or not); a potential new pier and/or new boardwalk are on the list. There’s also an open-ended question about what facilities and features you’d like to see. The survey will be open all month, and the port will come up with a proposal after that. Meantime, though the pier at the 15-acre park remains closed, the rest of the park is open, including the overlook with expansive views of Elliott Bay.
Another candidate has announced she’s running for Seattle Port Commission: Toshiko Grace Hasegawa, executive director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, has entered the race for Position 4, currently held by first-term Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck. Hasegawa’s announcement quotes her as saying, “I’m running in the wake of economic devastation because I have the values and the experience to meet the dire needs of this moment. The Port is uniquely positioned to be a model for bringing together industry, business, workers and communities to rebuild our economy and be better than it was before. I bring the necessary perspective and sense of urgency to ensure that the next rising tide will lift all of our ships.” The announcement explains that in her current role leading CAPAA, she “advises the Governor, State Legislature and other agencies on laws, programs, and policies impacting historically marginalized communities.” She also has worked as communications/outreach manager for King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight and as a legislative assistant to King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. Her port priorities include “shaping an equitable economic recovery for our region, reducing pollution and carbon emissions from the Port; ensuring safety at the Port for all travelers and workers; and promoting clean & ethical supply chains to address the growing issue of labor trafficking and economic exploitation.” Hasegawa lives on Beacon Hill. Position 4 is one of three commission seats on this year’s ballot; the field won’t be finalized until May, and the primary is August 2nd.
James sent that photo, wondering about the status of the latest closure of that pier at Jack Block Park. Inquiring with the Port of Seattle (which owns and operates the park), we have learned that it isn’t going to reopen any time soon – and might even have to be rebuilt, according to port spokesperson Peter McGraw:
Deficiencies found in the most recent inspection of Jack Block Park pier in late 2020 led to closing the pier to the public out of an abundance of caution.
The Port’s goal is to address the present conditions of the pier, preserve public shoreline access and the open space public-use areas it provides; while balancing environmental, financial, and community stewardship goals of the Port of Seattle.
The Port is considering several potential park improvement alternatives to address the pier’s closure including its replacement, or shoreline and/or interior enhancements, and will be reaching out to communities and neighbors to gather input. Participation in the Jack Block Park survey will help inform the Port as to what current and potential park features are most important to users of the park.
Following survey analysis, the Port will host a virtual Open House outlining survey results and the proposed modifications for the Park. Stay tuned on further details later this month.
Those details will include how to participate in the survey, which isn’t open yet. The pier was closed in December, at least the third closure in a year and a half. The first of those closures, in 2019, was attributed to damage from an unidentified vessel hitting the pier. The rest of the park (which is at 2130 Harbor SW) remains open.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The biggest signs of Terminal 5‘s future relaunch will arrive in June – the new cranes that will be used for cargo loading once the modernized north berth opens early next year.
That’s one of the updates presented during a District 1 Community Network guest appearance by Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance reps last Wednesday. (NWSA is the name for the joint efforts of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and the T-5 project is under its umbrella.)
It was an abbreviated version of the full T-5 briefing they had presented one day earlier to the NWSA managing members (Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners) – you can see that here, and you can read the full briefing (including the slide deck) in the agenda from that meeting:
In the week ahead, you have two chances to hear updates on the port:
TUESDAY: The Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members – aka port commissioners from Seattle and Tacoma – will get their quarterly briefing on the Terminal 5 project progress, delayed from last month (just before NWSA announced that the opening of T-5’s first modernized berth would be delayed until early next year). The meeting starts at 11:30 am Tuesday; the agenda, with viewing/listening/commenting info, is here, and the T-5 briefing documents are here.
WEDNESDAY: A Port of Seattle rep will be the guest at the District 1 Community Network‘s monthly meeting, online, 7 pm Wednesday. Community members are welcome to attend and participate. Videoconferencing and dial-in info is in our calendar listing.
The first challenger for Seattle Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman announced her candidacy today: Hamdi Mohamed. She is currently a King County Office of Equity & Social Justice policy adviser. Her announcement says Mohamed would be “the first-ever woman of color and East African (on) the Port Commission, as well as the only commissioner to live in the airport community.” Her past work includes serving as deputy district director for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. The announcement says that Mohamed priorities include creating “more living-wage job opportunities for all of our communities at the Port,” expecting that such jobs will play a big role in the post-pandemic recovery, and “prioritizing diversity and access for small businesses in contracting.” She also vows that environmental justice will be at the heart of her campaign. The primary is on August 2nd; the lineup of candidates won’t be finalized until May.
Access to the West Seattle low bridge has been limited, in part, to save space for the port truck traffic expected when Terminal 5 goes back into the cargo business, after the first phase of a $340 million modernization project. That was supposed to happen this June. Then suddenly, late Thursday, the Northwest Seaport Alliance announced T-5’s new north berth won’t open until the first quarter of next year. That means the city is saving space for trucks that won’t need it for a year or so – by which time the high bridge should be close to reopening. So as promised, we followed up with SDOT today to ask what that means to low-bridge access policy. In short: They’re working on it. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told WSB, “We plan to address this as part of our update to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force next week. We’re developing a staff recommendation now in response to this new development, and would then still plan to work with the Low Bridge subcommittee to formalize any changes to the access policy.” The Community Task Force meets at 4 pm next Thursday (February 11th). Meantime, we also asked NWSA for elaboration on the “unforeseen circumstances” cited as factoring into the T-5 delay; spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh would not comment except to reiterate that details will be provided at the March 2nd meeting of the NWSA’s managing members (Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners).
5:25 PM: The Northwest Seaport Alliance was supposed to present an update on the Terminal 5 modernization plan this past Tuesday, but pulled it from the agenda at the last minute, saying “several recent project changes” had rendered the planned update “outdated.” Here’s a big change: The NWSA just announced that T-5’s opening is being pushed back at least half a year. Here’s the announcement:
Terminal 5 to Open Q1 2022, Revising Earlier Estimates
The Northwest Seaport Alliance Terminal 5 Modernization Project is a critical component to expanding our cargo-handling capabilities. This facility will allow our region to remain globally competitive and grow our local economy. Due to the complex nature of this large infrastructure construction combined with unforeseen circumstances, this project is now seeing schedule impacts. To ensure project quality and a robust facility with construction that will last for decades, the NWSA now expects Phase 1 of the project to be targeted for completion by the end of Q4, 2021, rather than the expected Q2 of 2021.
The NWSA will be providing a full project update during the March Managing Members meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 2nd at 11:30am. This project remains a top priority and alongside our tenant, SSAT, we are committed to delivering the modernized Terminal 5 facility as soon as possible. We continue to believe this project is critical to maintaining economic and industrial diversity in our region and living wage jobs that are key to building an equitable and resilient economy.
At the February 2nd meeting of the Managing Members, commissioners approved three items relating to T5 construction, specifically the South Reefers Repair, Clean Truck Program and Radiation Portal Monitors/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Booth Power Infrastructure. Piling and other construction work continues on the project.
This has ramifications for other things, such as West Seattle Low Bridge access, which has been reserving capacity for T-5 trucks. We’ll be following up.
6:29 PM: For the record, this is the memo and slide deck for the briefing that was supposed to happen on Tuesday. When the lease was announced – exactly two years ago tomorrow – it was envisioned the north berth could be open as soon as last month.
Contractors will conduct pile driving at Terminal 5 in West Seattle beginning February 8, 2021. Pile driving will continue through March and possibly into April. The activity will include both vibratory and impact hammer pile driving. The vibratory method is relatively quiet and will likely be audible only to businesses and residences close to the terminal. Impact hammer driving will be more audible, and the sound will travel greater distances than the vibratory driving. The schedule calls for three or four days of vibratory driving, followed by three or four days of impact driving.
Under the City of Seattle’s Noise Ordinance, pile driving may take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekends and legal holidays.
As we reported over the weekend, the Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members’ monthly meeting tomorrow will include an in-depth progress report on the T-5 project.
UPDATE: We’re told the vibratory pile-driving has actually already begun.
Those photos are from a presentation that will be given to the Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members – aka commissioners from the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma – during their monthly meeting on Tuesday. This will be their quarterly update on the Terminal 5 modernization project in West Seattle, as it approaches a major milestone – the north berth at T-5 is supposed to go into service by midyear. The meeting is online, starting at 11:30 am Tuesday (February 2nd); here’s the agenda (including call-in and commenting instructions), and here’s where to watch the meeting’s video stream.
Port of Seattle commissioners are elected in a countywide note, but the seats are of special interest here given the port facilities along West Seattle shores, along Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River. So we’re noting that Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman has officially announced she’s running for a third 4-year term. Bowman is a Beacon Hill resident. Her announcement says she plans to “focus on economic recovery in the upcoming year and new term.” As points of pride in recent years, she points to “the work we’ve done to build career pathways and apprenticeship programs for young people coming from high school into skilled trades.” She also notes sustainability work and the port’s change in governance from a “traditional CEO” to an executive director, which she calls “a ‘no drama’ approach to Port management.” So far, no one else has registered a campaign for that seat, Position 3, but the primary isn’t until August 3.
P.S. The Port Commission meets twice a month – you can track meeting info here. They also meet monthly with their Port of Tacoma counterparts as managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the two ports’ partnership.
As we continue looking ahead to the first meetings of the new year – a West Seattle item of note is on the Tuesday agenda for the Northwest Seaport Alliance‘s managing members, aka the port commissioners from Seattle and Tacoma – a vote to authorize a new lease for the automated fuel station at Terminal 115, north of the West Marginal Way SW/Highland Park Way intersection. The agenda document says the original 5-year lease ended in 2019 but various factors delayed renegotiation of a new one, so the Associated Petroleum Products station’s been there on “holdover status” for almost two years. The agenda document says the two sides agreed to lease terms a year ago but:
“In March 2020, just prior to the Lease being brought to the April 2020 Managing Members meeting, APP requested a rental rate reduction due to their business being negatively impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic and WA State’s Stay at Home policy. NWSA Real Estate declined a rental rate reduction but did offer to delay moving forward with the new lease and new rental rate as we interpreted APP’s request as potentially falling within Governor Inslee’s April 16, 2020 Proclamation 20-19.1 as prohibiting rent increases for commercial tenants when tenants were ‘materially impacted by the COVID-19, . . . whether the business itself was not deemed essential pursuant to Proclamation 20-25 or otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.’ APP agreed to recommence negotiations in September 2020. Lease drafts were exchanged, and the parties agreed to a final Lease on December 11, 2020. …”
The document says that following an appraisal, the rent is going up from $8,307 a month to $12,065. APP also has the right to keep subleasing space on the site to Portside Coffee and Subway. The vote is part of Tuesday’s 11:30 am meeting; you can listen by calling 253-617-4257 (Id: 467 507 334#), or you can watch the videostream here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition moved up its regular fourth-Thursday meeting slot by a week this month because of Thanksgiving – and so, unplanned, that put it at the end of a long day of meetings about the West Seattle Bridge.
The bridge was the WSTC’s first of two main topics (the other was Terminal 5).
SDOT UPDATE: Bridge project leader Heather Marx recapped the day’s big news, Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s announcement that the bridge will be repaired rather than replaced. Marx stressed that they are being very cautious about estimating cost and timelines at this early stage. They won’t have a “full design package” until spring, and then they’ll advertise for a contractor.
(Spotted sandpiper, photographed in 2017 by Mark Wangerin at what was then T-107 Park)
Just announced at the Seattle Port Commission meeting – the six new names for Port of Seattle parks on the Duwamish River. Four are in the Lushootseed language, two are in English. From the meeting-agenda document:
The former T-105 and T-107 parks, now tuʔəlaltxʷ Village Park & Shoreline Habitat and həʔapus Village Park & Shoreline Habitat, are in West Seattle. ha?apus is the name supported by the Duwamish Tribe, whose Longhouse and Cultural Center is across the street; we reported on their advocacy when the renaming process began in July. At today’s meeting, chair Cecile Hansen and longhouse director Jolene Haas expressed their thanks to community participants in the process, saying of the renaming, “We pray it will create an opportunity to heal our relationship with one another as Indian people and citizens of Seattle.”