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Candidates: Port Is Disconnected From Seattle Values

John and Linda Beatty of Seattle watch Foss Maritime tugs pull the Polar Pioneer oil rig south past Discovery Park toward the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 on May 14, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter
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John and Linda Beatty of Seattle watch Foss Maritime tugs pull the Polar Pioneer oil rig south past Discovery Park toward the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 on May 14, 2015.

The Shell oil rig that occupied a terminal at the Port of Seattle is gone now.

But its legacy lives on, as candidates for the Port of Seattle Commission square off about the port’s future. An all-candidates meeting was held Monday night. 

TRANSCRIPT

The decisions in secret.

The resistance to public pressure.

Many of the candidates expressed their sense that the port’s behavior runs counter to local values, and that it all came to a head when the Port allowed a  Arctic drilling rig to dock at Terminal 5.

Candidate Mark Hennon just blurted it out: “I’m running because I despise Shell Oil in our harbor.”

And candidates talked about other issues they perceived as port failings.

For example, there's the resistance to the $15 minimum wage.

This is Fred Felleman: “It’s an embarrassment that the port would choose to lowball our own workers.”

Candidate Marion Yoshino said the port could do more to test for air and water pollution.

She said an air-quality monitoring station near the airport is a must.

“And that’s one of the first things that I’m looking forward to doing as a port commissioner," she said.

Courtney Gregoire is running for re-election to position two.

She listened to the candidates – and acknowledged that the port’s Shell decision damaged its social contract with the community.

“We lost their confidence and we need to gain that back.”

Voters will have their say in August.