West Seattle, Washington
The TUESDAY REPORT: Seattle Police Department is actually one of two local PDs with a chief search under way. The Port of Seattle also is without a permanent police chief at the moment, but it’s getting closer to a hire, and that’s of interest with the Port PD’s jurisdiction including Terminal 5 and other sites here in West Seattle. This week, the port is expected to announce finalists for the job, and next Monday, the finalists are expected to answer questions at an online public forum. The previous chief was fired last fall, more than a year after he was placed on leave during what regional media described as a misconduct investigation. Mike Villa has been serving as interim chief. The port’s webpage about the chief search has information on how to watch the finalists’ forum at 4:30 pm June 27th, and how to send advance questions (requested by tomorrow).
ADDED WEDNESDAY: Two finalists have been announced – interim chief Villa, and Seattle Police Captain Eric Sano, currently commander of SPD’s East Precinct.
If you have a view of Elliott Bay, it’s about to get busier for the spring/summer: The Port of Seattle is expecting its first cruise-ship arrival of the season on Saturday (April 23rd) – the 4-year-old, 4,000-passenger-capacity Norwegian Bliss (above), docking at Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 downtown. The port’s announcement says 296 ship calls are expected this summer, with “an expected 1.2 million revenue passengers.” According to the full-season schedule, the first multi-arrival day will be a week from Saturday, with three ships due in on April 30th. The season will last exactly six months, with the last ship call scheduled for October 23rd.
P.S. If you’ve noticed a cruise ship here recently, that was Ovation of the Seas, same one that was hanging around last fall because its Australian season was canceled. It will start Alaska cruises from here next month.
This morning, the Northwest Seaport Alliance sent out notices saying Terminal 5 and other Seattle cargo docks would be closed for a day, effective immediately, because of a longshore workers’ “24-hour stop work.” We’ve had messages out since then to find out why; this is the NWSA response:
The Port of Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance have been made aware of a member of International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 19 passing away at the Pier 86 grain facility. As is tradition after a member dies while at work, facilities in Seattle only will be closed for the remainder of the day, with shifts starting again tomorrow morning. We offer our deepest condolences to ILWU and the worker’s family and friends during this difficult time.
The Seattle Fire 911 log shows a medical call to that facility just after 7 am today.
Almost a month and a half after modernized Terminal 5 opened for international cargo shipping, it has yet to use a major feature of that modernization – shore power. We visited T-5 this morning as the largest vessel yet, MSC Virgo, was being unloaded:
Virgo is 1,200 feet long, with a capacity of 15,000 TEUs, the second-biggest ship ever to be served by the Northwest Seaport Alliance (the joint cargo authority of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma) – the biggest was CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the 18,000-TEU megaship that made a much-celebrated visit six years ago at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. So why isn’t MSC Virgo using shore power? NWSA spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh says it’s a labor issue that terminal operator SSA is working on: “Currently, labor parties are negotiating the use of shore power equipment on the terminal and usage will be determined when negotiations are complete.” Meantime, what are literally the biggest aspects of the modernization work, the four giant cranes, are working well, Stambaugh says.
Some of the cargo brought in by Virgo will be transported away by rail, another key operational advantage of T-5. NWSA says there’s no ship backup currently here, but Canada still has issues, so it’s expecting to see more cargo that was originally intended to be offloaded there – a “huge win” as described at the most-recent NWSA managing-members meeting. Virgo, meantime, will be here until Monday; the shipping schedule changes frequently but you can watch it here to see what’s next.
Thanks to Amy Pieper for sending the photo! As noted in our morning traffic (etc.) watch, what might be the biggest ship yet to call at West Seattle’s Terminal 5, a month after its opening, is there today. The MSC Margrit‘s capacity is 13,600 TEUs – more than double the capacity of the first ship to call at T-5 last month. Though it’s only about a decade old, the Northwest Seaport Alliance says MSC Margrit is not shore-power capable, so T-5 has yet to see a ship plug in.
The NWSA says the West Seattle terminal is benefiting from port and railroad congestion in Canada – two of the first three ships to call were sent here instead of Vancouver, B.C., and sent thousands of containers via rail to Montreal and Toronto. Terminal 5’s rail capability was a key selling point for the modernization project.
This was announced in the “operational update” during the meeting of the Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners (the NWSA is the two ports’ joint cargo-operations authority). They were told that the initial startup of T-5’s north berth “is going very well.” All four of the giant new cranes have operated with no downtime – something of a rarity, NWSA staff said – and unions have filled all the terminal operators’ orders for workers.
Next milestones for the north berth, as we’ve reported, will be the arrival of the first big ships later this month (the dates change frequently). These also tend to be newer as well as shore-power-capable, meaning they can use on-dock electricity rather than running their engines and burning fuel while docked.
The NWSA meeting this past Tuesday (here’s the video) also included a construction update on the overall T-5 project, which includes modernization of the south berth, on which work is well under way. Project manager Emma Del Vento said they’re seeing some effects of the concrete strike and supply-chain issues, but nothing affecting the “critical path” schedule overall. Here’s the slide deck she presented:
The total cost of the T-5 project is now projected at $368 million. That’s double the low end of the early projections back in 2015.
8:10 PM: Big Seattle Fire response for Terminal 5 – the first crews to arrive are telling dispatch that someone has a head injury and needs to be pulled out from “inbetween cargo containers.”
8:19 PM: The victim is aboard the cargo ship that’s at Terminal 5 right now (that would be MSC Monterey). Radio exchanges indicate the firefighters are facing tricky logistics to get to him.
8:29 PM: They’ve told dispatch the victim is a 51-year-old man hit from above with a heavy object. He’s described as “alert and oriented.” They’re working toward being able to lift him off the ship. (added) The incident commander tells dispatch that may take another 20 minutes or so.
8:43 PM: Dispatch has just been told “patient extracted.” (added) SFD medics are taking the victim to Harborview.
This week we’ve heard from several people wondering about noisy work at Terminal 5, most mentioning “pile-driving.” While the north–berth modernization work is complete and, as we’ve been reporting, the berth is in service, the south berth is now under construction. Our archives showed the window for “in-water” work – a deadline set to minimize fish impacts – is February 15th. We asked Northwest Seaport Alliance spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh for an update on the work and whether that deadline will be extended again this year. Here’s her response:
The questions regarding noise could be related to a combination of terminal operations and construction. The only new activity this week is dredging, while all other construction work has been underway at the same pace since September.
Yes, the in-water work window typically ends 2/15. We have applied for an extension to 2/28 as an effort to reduce any other in-water work being needed at a later time. We will abide by our permits and permissions from the appropriate regulatory authorities and only continue in-water work if the extension is granted.
For the South berth construction, landside work is expected to continue all year. The landside pile driving is complete, and only dock construction remains.
Meanwhile, ships continue to call at the newly opened north berth – here’s our latest update.
Two and a half weeks after the first cargo-ship call at Terminal 5‘s modernized north berth, its schedule is starting to fill out. MSC Arica arrived early this morning. Its capacity is 8,886 TEUs – but ships with almost twice that capacity are on the way. While the schedule frequently changes, currently 5 more MSC ships are penciled in – Monterey (4,860 TEUs, making its second visit) next Monday (January 31st), then three big ships – Margrit (13,604 TEUs) on February 6th, Virgo (15,000 TEUs) on February 11th, and Camille (14,028 TEUs) on February 14th – followed by Lisbon (9,784 TEUs) on February 17th. The bigger ships are newer, which may mean they’re able to plug into the berth’s shore-power system. Also of note – while the north berth continues ramping up operations, construction continues on the south berth, which is expected to be complete around year’s end.
MSC Monterey arrived today at Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the first international-cargo ship to call there since July 2014. The expansive terminal hasn’t been idle all those years – it’s seen controversy with oil-drilling rigs as well as more-routine use such as domestic cargo via Matson – but the biggest activity has been the first phase of the half-billion-dollar “modernization” project. Now that phase of work is done and the first berth is in service. The Northwest Seaport Alliance invited news media onto the dock this morning for a quick (and soggy) look.
Two of Terminal 5’s giant cranes – which arrived last June – are being used to unload MSC Monterey; terminal operator SSA Marine‘s T-5 manager Dana Brand explained the other two aren’t in use because the carrier wants to stay a few days, rather than a quick in-and-out. This ship isn’t utilizing all of the newly opened berth’s capacity in other ways, either – for one, it’s a 6,500-TEU (container equivalent) capacity ship; a much-bigger and newer ship – MSC Virgo, 15,000 TEUs – will be here in a few weeks. That ship will use shore power, unlike this one. Also of note, this ship’s containers are all going out by truck, not by rail, though the latter will be used later this month.
Trucks move quickly through an automated gate – potentially seconds for what used to take minutes, including the efficiency of a central control for all three active Seattle terminals – 5, 18, and 30. And the second phase of T-5 work includes moving the gate complex further into the terminal, so there’s more on-dock room for queueing, taking pressure off the roads leading in. For even more efficiency, negotiations are under way toward direct ship-to-train offloading – that would require ships to be loaded in a way that groups all the containers set for a particular destination, which isn’t the way it works now.
Today’s mini-tour included key maritime-industry reps made available for media interviews. We asked Rich Austin, president of ILWU Local 19, what T-5’s opening means for his union’s local workforce, which had dozens of people working at T-5 today.
Terminal 5 now has a second berth to be modernized, and SSA has to decide whether to lease that one too. We talked with SSA Marine executive Edward DeNike and NWSA CEO John Wolfe about what’s next:
Terminal 5’s opening will take some pressure off the supply-chain backlog, DeNike acknowledged, though right now the maritime backup isn’t too bad around here – DeNike said three ships are waiting in this area, compared to more than 140 in Southern California. Prior to the berth opening, T-5 has been in use for months as extra container storage; the number of extra containers there is now down to 3,000, from a peak of 11,000.
A “historic day” for the Port of Seattle Commission – with Commissioners Toshiko Grace Hasegawa and Hamdi Mohamed taking office today, the commission has its first People of Color majority. The five-member commission’s other POC member, Sam Cho, was elected today as commission vice president, while Ryan Calkins will serve as president, and Hasegawa as secretary. Calkins was the only incumbent re-elected in November; the other two who were on the ballot were defeated by Hasegawa and Mohamed. The two new commissioners spoke to news media this morning, before the commission’s regular monthly meeting. Hasegawa said it’s “our responsibility to address the generations of environmental harm,” while Mohamed voiced priorities including “addressing the root causes of the supply-chain crisis.” We asked both about how they plan to be more accessible to their constituents (commissioners are elected in a countywide vote). Mohamed promised “listening sessions, town halls” and a “boots on the ground” presence in the community, while Hasegawa promised to be “authentically engaging” and to work to close the “equity gap.” Both also spoke of advocating for a new generation to join the maritime workforce, which is facing a ‘silver tsunami,” as Hasegawa put it, of retirements.
The imminent opening of cargo operations at Terminal 5‘s first modernized berth in West Seattle (with the first ship calling later this week, as we ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>first reported Monday) was briefly mentioned – Hasegawa called it “exciting,” while Calkins described it as one of the “investments we’e been making (that) are starting to pay off.” During the commission meeting this afternoon, port executive director Steve Metruck noted that the first phase of T-5 construction officially concluded just last week.
MONDAY MORNING: We’ve been watching for word of the first cargo-ship call at the first modernized berth at West Seattle’s Terminal 5, and it’s just appeared on the newest Northwest Seaport Alliance calendar update: MSC Monterey is due at Terminal 5 on Thursday afternoon (January 6th). The schedule also shows MSC Margarita scheduled for T-5 two weeks later. Monterey, built in 2007, carries up to 5,000 containers (TEU); Margarita is slightly older and slightly larger, with a capacity of up to 6,000 containers. (That’s about a third of the potential capacity the revamped berth was designed to handle.) According to MarineTraffic.com, Monterey’s last port was Manzanillo, Mexico, from which it departed one week ago. We may hear more about T-5 when the Port of Seattle Commission meets online at noon tomorrow; that’ll be the first meeting for its newly elected commissioners Toshiko Grace Hasegawa and Hamdi Mohamed.
TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: The schedule has changed (as, with ships, it often does) and MSC Monterey is now due in Friday morning.
Just got word of this from the Port of Seattle tonight, and it’s in the morning, so it’ll be too late for our reminder list, and therefore we’re publishing the announcement now:
This year, the Port of Seattle marks 110 years of working for the people of King County and Washington state. Join us as we reflect on this milestone, recognize the efforts this year to help lead an equitable recovery, and set our sights on 2022. Participants include Port Commissioners and Executive Director Steve Metruck. The presentation features community events and accomplishments from throughout the year. More on our event page.
Date: Thursday, December 9, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. — Virtual Presentation
Join the Virtual Presentation Here
Call in Option (Audio Only)
Pin: 149 1850#
If you can’t watch live, we’re told a recording will be published later in the day.
The maritime links in the supply chain are loosening, port commissioners from Seattle and Tacoma were told today. Meeting as the managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, they heard from staff that rail-cargo backups have cleared, and that fewer vessels are waiting at anchor. The latter numbers had been in double digits daily for a while, but are now “5 to 7 on a typical day.” The biggest chokepoint, as described in the briefing, remains getting trucks to transport containers off the docks. Containers are covering a relatively sizable amount of space at docks, including 50 acres at Terminal 46 along the south end of downtown Seattle. So they’re looking at a variety of ways to try to address that, including using short-distance rail to get containers off the docks, and charging “long-stay” fees. The NWSA sent a notice about storage charges two weeks ago – from that notice:
… As with other ports on the West Coast who either have already implemented additional storage charges or will soon be doing so, the failure of importers picking up their containers in a timely manner has created severe congestion issues that has prevented terminal operators from properly servicing vessels destined for their terminals. We sincerely hope the additional storage charge will encourage cargo owners to pick up their containers which will allow the terminals in Seattle to again properly service vessels destined to our port and once that has been accomplished, the temporary storage charges will cease….
The opening of the first modernized berth at West Seattle’s Terminal 5 is expected to take more pressure off the vessel backlog; no date’s been announced yet for the first ship to call, but NWSA spokesperson Melanie Stambaugh tells WSB, “At this time, the NWSA is set to transfer operation of Terminal 5 to [tenant] SSA Terminals at the beginning of January.”
In today’s bright sunlight, the cruise ship anchored off Manchester – Ovation of the Seas – was particularly eye-catching from west-facing West Seattle. As we’ve reported previously, after concluding the Alaska cruise season, it was supposed to head to the Southern Hemisphere for an Australia cruise season, but that was canceled due to COVID-related travel restrictions. So it’s been hanging around in Washington waters. Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw sent an update at week’s end:
Royal Caribbean International’s the Ovation of Seas will continue to spend more time around Puget Sound in the coming winter months under minimal operations. Currently, she is anchored in Yukon Harbor in Kitsap County, where the U.S. Coast Guard determines the berthing locations. She’ll spend approximately one week at anchor before heading out to coastal and international waters. She’ll then return to Pier 66 for the day on Friday, Nov. 12 for provisioning, bunkering, and crew movements. Then it’s back to Yukon Harbor and other movements out to sea before coming back to Pier 66 on Monday, Dec. 13 for more operations during the day. While in our waters, Ovation of the Seas utilizes marine gas oil (MGO), a low-sulfur fuel. In between these locations, it will be very possible to continue to see the Ovation of the Seas throughout our area.
It’s more common to see cargo ships at anchor where the cruise ship is now; we reported on the ongoing cargo backup earlier this week.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Most of the spotlight this election season has shone on candidates for Seattle city offices. But that’s not all you’ll find on your ballot (if you’re among the 80+% of local voters whose ballots haven’t been turned in yet). You have 17 choice to make – including three races for Seattle Port Commission.
Five commissioners, all elected countywide, comprise the board, serving four-year terms. This year, Positions 1, 3, and 4 are up for election. In each race, the incumbent and a challenger filed for the seat, so there were no primary votes – all six candidates went directly to the general election. Thursday night, five of them participated in an online forum presented by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and Seattle Parks Foundation – for Position 1, first-term incumbent Ryan Calkins; for Position 3, two-term incumbent Stephanie Bowman and King County policy adviser Hamdi Mohamed; and for Position 4, first-term incumbent Peter Steinbrueck and state Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs executive director Toshiko Grace Hasegawa.
DRCC executive director Paulina López co-hosted with SPF CEO Rebecca Bear. In opening comments, they pointed out the enormity of the Port of Seattle‘s impact on our region, both seaport and airport operations. The forum was only allotted an hour, so after introductory opening statements, questions were asked randomly of one or more participants. What we’ve written below is our summarizing/paraphrasing of the questions and answers, not direct quotes unless designated as such by quotation marks.
You’ve probably heard a lot about the logjams in the supply chain leading to a backlog of ships waiting to get into ports.
As of this afternoon, for example, Los Angeles/Long Beach had 77 cargo ships in line.
Seattle’s backlog isn’t anywhere near that bad, but it’s still a logistical challenge, according to port and maritime officials who led a media briefing we attended online this afternoon.
The most visible effects of the backlog, as seen from West Seattle, are ships at anchor off Manchester and in Elliott Bay. But there are other anchorages in Puget Sound, and other options for ships while they wait, explained the briefers – Captain Patrick Hilbert of the U.S. Coast Guard, who’s the Sector Puget Sound commander; Captain Mike Moore of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association; and Port Commission presidents Fred Felleman of Seattle and Dick Marzano of Tacoma.
Whereas previously they would work out berthing logistics with a ship days before its arrival, now they’re doing that three to four weeks in advance. Early discussions might lead a ship to stay anchored in China for a while, for example, before crossing the Pacific. Or a ship’s master might choose to make the crossing at slow speed. Or they might wait a few hundred miles off the Washington coast – or if it’s safer than the open ocean, a ship might even sail “race tracks” (loops) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (with Canada’s permission).
Felleman said the Northwest Seaport Alliance – the joint port authority of Seattle and Tacoma that manages cargo berths in both harbors – has offered its otherwise idle Terminal 46 downtown as a place for ships to wait, though so far no one has accepted the offer, despite low-to-no-cost availability. (Moore said it would probably be most attractive to ships that needed to reprovision, and he would remind his membership – shipping lines and terminal operators – that it’s available.)
The problem, Felleman explained, isn’t a high volume of cargo; he said they’re at about the same level as pre-pandemic, The trouble is that the timing is off throughout the system, disrupting an intricately interwoven series of actions that have to happen to keep everything flowing. With everything way out of synch, containers are piling up on docks because truck drivers aren’t showing up to get them, and that can mean a ship doesn’t get loaded or unloaded. Terminal 18 on Harbor Island, for example, had at one point 7,000 containers, empty and full waiting to be picked up. As we’ve shown you before, under-construction Terminal 5 here in West Seattle is being used as a temporary storage spot for container overflow, as is T-46.
Puget Sound only had three ships at anchor today, they said. Could this area handle some of that massive backup from elsewhere? we asked. Short answer, no, that would just be moving the problem around.
3:46 PM: Two days ago, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas moved from Pier 90 at the Port of Seattle‘s Smith Cove terminal and dropped anchor in the middle of Elliott Bay. Earlier this year, cruise ships were at anchor when all the docks were full. Right now, that’s not the case. So we’ve received a few questions. The ship’s future schedule appears to be in flux; its Australia cruise season for 2021-2022 was recently canceled because travel restrictions Down Under remain tight. As for its continued stay in Seattle, we asked Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw, who says, “It will be hanging around in the near future, after our last passenger cruise vessel NCL Encore departs on Saturday afternoon. It may be conducting operations around the Sound or even berthed at Pier 66.” (That’s the cruise-ship dock on the downtown waterfront.) It had to leave Pier 91 because the space was needed for other vessels: “When we need our facilities for other tenants, like fishing vessels back from Alaska or other needs outside the cruise season, they have to go elsewhere until there’s an opening, like at 66 later next week.”
7:10 PM: Since we photographed it at mid-afternoon, the ship has in fact headed out on “operations around the Sound” – MarineTraffic.com shows it off Whidbey Island right now, northbound.
The Port of Seattle is giving the city $9 million to help cover the costs of the West Seattle Bridge project – and getting some commitments in return. Details are in a “memorandum of understanding” approved today by port commissioners. Here’s the draft document:
From that document, here’s where the $9 million fits in the funding picture:
Here’s what the port gets: Priority handling of city construction-related permits for the Terminal 5 modernization project, certain levels of access to the West Seattle low bridge, a chance to review the bridge-repair plans “to ensure maritime operations are fully considered.” And the port and city will work together on transportation projects including truck parking to minimize backups, the East Marginal Way corridor, and design of the West Marginal Way 2-way protected bike lane “to maximize safety for all users and minimize freight impacts.” The $9 million is to be paid in three installments, starting “after the City has reopened the West Seattle High Bridge with full access consistent with prior operations (7 lanes) and shown progress satisfactory to the Port on other provisions of the agreement (this is expected in mid-2022).”
Here are the details of the low-bridge access specified in the MOU:
a. SDOT will authorize up to 550 roundtrips per day for workers required to support international marine cargo operations at T5.
• Between 7 am and 3 pm, SSA Marine and ILWU will minimize trips to 100 one-way trips per hour within those daytime hours.
• Outside of those hours, SDOT will authorize up to 200 one-way trips per hour
b. In coordination with the Port and the NWSA, while the high bridge remains closed, SSA Marine will provide flex-hours for up to 180 ILWU workers to ensure that they arrive at T5 prior to 7 am as well as provide on-terminal truck queuing starting at 6 am.
c. “T5 Labor” includes ILWU Locals 19, 52 and 98, mechanics and SSA. Each entity and members will follow existing application procedures with applications due by the 15th of each month for authorized low bridge access in the following month.
d. The SSSB is to be used only by T5 Labor only when dispatched across the Duwamish or when traveling across the Duwamish between marine cargo terminals.
e. ILWU trips to terminals other than T5 continue to be authorized when a worker is dispatched across the Duwamish; however, those non-T5 trips are assumed and expected to NOT be higher than as of the date of this MOU (averaging 10 trips per hour maximum). These trips are counted as part of the authorized trip numbers listed above.
f. ILWU and mechanic individual trips are limited to no more than two-round trips per day.
g. ILWU and SSA Marine’s coordination is necessary to enforce the authorized trip target. A pattern of exceeding the authorized trip target will result in the City directly engaging with SSA and ILWU and giving both entities an opportunity to take corrective action with their users.
• Following engagement, any persistent and on-going patterns of excessive use by authorized users could result in a reduction of ILWU/SSA access to the low bridge.
h. Once T5 reopens to marine traffic, SDOT, ILWU, SSA Marine and NWSA will regularly communicate to ensure coordinated execution.
i. NWSA will work with SDOT in advance of Terminal 5 opening to develop a terminal data reporting strategy and provide regular terminal data updates to inform low bridge access predictions and management.
For truck access, the MOU says that for one “the City will continue design to rechannelize S Spokane St east of the T-18 main gate entrance to improve traffic flow near the East Waterway Bridge, and will carry out the project at the City’s cost in 2022 after the WSHB opens to traffic.” Also, the port and city will work “to establish multiple drayage truck parking areas … for the benefit of both Duwamish Valley residents and truck drivers serving the marine cargo terminals.” For possible parking area, one on 11th SW with 25 truck-parking spaces, and potentially “near East Marginal Way, under the Spokane St viaduct and nearby areas as depicted in Exhibit E with the intention to develop up to 70 additional parking spots.”
The parking spots are supposed to be ready by the end of 2022, pending City Council approval. Then in early 2023 the city and port would collaborate on a plan for at least 100 more truck-parking spaces at site(s) TBA, possibly on city-owned property along the east side of East Marginal Way between Hanford and Holgate, also noted in Exhibit E.”
WHY ONE RESTROOM IS CLOSED: Thanks to Jessica for sending the photo and wondering what happened to the men’s restroom in the park’s easternmost comfort station:
Port spokesperson Peter McGraw says it was damaged by fire, apparently this past Monday. “Repairs are currently underway,” he said, but no estimate for reopening yet.
PIER’S FUTURE: Steps away from that comfort station is the park pier that’s been closed for months because of safety concerns.
Back in spring, the port conducted a survey asking your thoughts on the pier’s future, promising to update the community afterward. Five months later, no word. Andrew emailed us wondering what ever happened to it. McGraw says the results should go public “likely sometime in the middle of October.”
As noted in our rwport last night about a visit to the West Seattle Bridge by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, their travels included a stop at under-construction Terminal 5. There, port and maritime reps touted their environmental efforts – from sea-noise reduction to shore power to trucking electrification – and pitched for more federal funding to help them make more progress. As a reminder of what’s at stake, Seattle Port Commissioner Fred Felleman presented Trottenberg with a framed orca photo of his:
(We talked with Felleman earlier this summer about orcas and T-5.) At right in the photo above is Edward DeNike of SSA Marine, the tenant for Terminal 5’s first modernized berth and operator of many other terminals. His remarks included a mention of what’s the most striking feature of T-5 right now:
DeNike said T-5 is now a holding zone for more than 8,000 containers. That’s up from the 6,000 we reported earlier this month. They’ve been trucked over from Terminals 30 and 18, which are already maxed out. Once T-5’s first berth opens early next year, they’re hoping it’ll take some of the pressure off. After the briefing, we asked DeNike about the status of a decision on which shipping line(s) will be first to use T-5. He said they’re talking with a few now and should have a decision within about a month.
Next Monday, the next phase of in-water work starts at the Terminal 5 modernization project in West Seattle. The window when this work is allowed – meant to reduce the effects on fish – opens on Sunday (August 15th), but port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells us the work will actually begin on Monday. “Initial work activities will be vibratory toe wall pile driving in the north berth and vibratory pile extraction in the south berth.” The work window is open until February 15th; the first modernized berth at T-5 is expected to open in January. The port’s alert notes that “the City of Seattle Noise Ordinance limits construction activities, including vibratory pile driving, to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays and between 9 a.m. 10 p.m. weekends and legal holidays. The City of Seattle further limits Impact pile driving to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.” There may be Sunday work along the way, but the port promises that will be preceded by additional community notification.
If you’re going to South Park for the Duwamish River Festival, stop by the new Duwamish River Community Hub just a block south at 14th Avenue South and South Cloverdale. The Port of Seattle has leased the former Napoli Pizza building as a center for various gatherings, inside as well as out:
Outside the Hub today, you’ll find Mercadito vendor booths as well as information booths including the port explaining the new People’s Park along the river nearby:
You can take a guided walking tour to the park at 4:30 pm. We covered the park groundbreaking at the former Terminal 117 a year ago.