Port Commissioners Rip Proposed SODO Arena a New One

In a letter today to Mayor Mike McGinn, the Seattle Port Commission makes it very clear how they feel about the proposed SODO Arena.

“Frankly, the analysis before us describes numerous benefits of the arena, but fails to acknowledge obvious costs to the public,” the letter reads before calling for complete redo of the review process for the stadium.

The letter comes after last week’s Commission meeting to review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the arena, which was ripped to shreds for its numerous egregious errors and lack of clarity on what the project’s “private” status actually means.

The letter states that the DEIS “erroneously approaches the issue as though this arena is a private project, rather than a public project that will receive $200 million in taxpayer financing and, after construction, be owned by the public.” Stadium backer Chris Hansen’s leadership in the project is what intially drove the “private” status designation for the arena, despite the taxpayer contribution the project would necessitate. Representatives at the Commission meeting said EIS requirements are generally “less demanding” for private projects than public projects, which the Port Commissioners found fault with.

The Commission also calls out the threat to middle-class jobs the stadium would have on SODO, linked to increased traffic through busy areas critical to the Port and surrounding business.

“Port of Seattle believes that it is a profound mistake to trade middle-class employment and a diversified tax base for the indeterminate economic value of an additional sports and concert venue in the city,” the letter reads.

In addition to calling for a redo of the review process, the Commission urges for a more intensive look at alternate solutions they claim were skimmed over in the DEIS.

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