Editorial: Sodo arena process far from over
A judge’s rejection of a lawsuit challenging plans for a new Seattle arena for professional basketball and hockey did not preclude serious scrutiny.
Seattle Times Editorial
KING County Executive Dow Constantine said it best in a news conference last fall about the professional sports arena proposed for the Sodo District: “Let me be clear, the process is still not finished.”
That quote was apparently omitted in a lawsuit challenging the deal. Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson pointed out in a recent story the sentence was not included in a fuller statement used by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The union’s argument said the deal for the Seattle site was so far along that it got ahead of required environmental reviews.
King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North did not buy the political-momentum argument.
We share the concerns of Port of Seattle workers who worry that arena traffic could compromise the operations of the city’s industrial zone and the economic engine it represents for the region.
But we also agree with Constantine’s sentiment that this process is far from over. A detailed, rigorous environmental review that looks at the Sodo location and alternatives is basic, and owed the public.
Indeed, after the judge’s ruling, Constantine said the environmental assessment would address concerns about freight mobility.
He was joined by other local officials who pledged a full review would be forthcoming.
Nothing is certain about the plans to return professional basketball to Seattle. Or, as it is seen by The Sacramento Bee, “Seattle’s attempt to grab the Sacramento Kings ...”.
The National Basketball Association has not yet given its blessings to either the move to buy the team and relocate north, or the tenacious bid by Sacramento fans and officials to hang onto the Kings.
Do the rigorous review expected by Washington’s environmental legislation. Take a look at all the conditions, the potential mitigating factors and their expense and consequences.
As the judge and the county executive both made clear, the arena review and its results cannot be assumed.