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Posts tagged as “Tacoma”

Seattle v Tacoma, another round


Central Tacoma/Stapilus

Some battles never end. Those between the Emerald City and the City of Destiny, for example. In modern-day style . . .

The Port of Tacoma tries to entice a key shipper away from the Port of Seattle.

The city of Seattle tries to lure away one of Tacoma's most prestigious businesses.

A solid rundown on the current state of the matter turns up in today's column by Tacoma News-Tribune's Peter Callaghan. Search for Seattle rebuttal (though Callaghan's take was pretty neutral) will get underway shortly . . .

The popular meter reader

Well worth the read on the job front: Nicole Brodeur's column today in the Seattle Times, about the job opening at the city of Tacoma. The city runs the local electric utility, and it needed to hire a meter reader.

There were 1,400 applicants. Brodeur: "so many applicants, they had to rent out the Tacoma Dome for the testing."

Seattle, the cheaper alternative to Tacoma?

Any time a local paper reaches the conclusion that an important local business is likely to move away, that falls into man-bites-dog territory. But there's another bit more remarkable yet in today's story by Tacoma News Tribune reporter Dan Voelpel on the strategic planning, and potential move, of Tacoma's Russell Investments.

Russell is an unusual, maybe one of a kind thing in the Northwest - an investment company that is also a big employer, a direct major force in a local city's economy: Its employment base was 1,100 just at Tacoma, and it has offices around the globe. Note the "was", because the macro economy has led to scalebacks here too, by about 200 employees, a real hit at Tacoma.

But there could be more. Voelpel looked at the physical space and growth (or contraction) considerations Russell will have to be dealing with in the next few years, especially in the period right around 2013. Once-discussed plans for a Tacoma Russell tower probably have evaporated. But there was also this:

"In Seattle today, you can find a glut of vacant office space that could suit Russell’s needs and cost far less than paying the lease on a newly constructed office building. Most prominent of Seattle’s buildings? The former WaMu Center, a 55-story, 1.1 million-square-foot behemoth that became available with the demise of Washington Mutual Bank last year."

The contractors

As governments look at cutbacks this year, only a part of those cutback will be in the form of direct employees and line items. A lot of government work is contracted out, and it will get a close look too.

So consider the story out of Tacoma about that city's contract with The Orion Partnership of Issaquah. This week the city council evidently is taking a second look at the deal with Orion, for an amount of around $300,000, about half of the overall business it is doing with the firm.

What does Orion do? According to the Tacoma News Tribune, "George Orr III and Kathleen Ryan, the Orion consultants, have helped city officials design and facilitate meetings with large and small groups that are aimed at making city government more efficient. For example, they helped city officials organize the huge two-day meeting of city employees that led to the Safe and Clean initiative, a program aimed at cutting crime in half in 14 months and generally sprucing up the city. City officials cannot pull off such large-scale events without outside help, [city manager's analyst Mary] Morrison said."

Hmm. Without offering any kind of view of Orion (we have no reason to think it doesn't do solid work), we would suggest that hard-pressed Tacoma taxpayers may be a little concerned - under the current circumstances - about experienced city officials, executives and managers unable to "design and facilitate meetings with large and small groups" on their own.

The biggest evacuation?

Is this the biggest single evacuation of people from an area that the Northwest has ever had? There's case to be made for what's going on now in Pierce County:

Rob Harper of Washington Emergency Management: “This is the largest evacuation in scope and scale. We haven’t dealt with something like this before. It’s hitting more populous areas and an industrial area – it has a much more devastating impact on the economy.”

The raw numbers: About 40,000 people being strongly advised to leave, whole communities including Puyallup and Orting. Everyone living in the Orting Valley, which was being flooded by the Puyalup River, was being asked to leave their homes.



Flooding in Lewis County

And that isn't even the heaviest flooding, which seems to be around the Centralia-Chehalis area. Again. for the second year in a row, in an area (about halfway between Portland and Seattle) that historically is a little drier than most parts of western Washington. The flooding is so severe that Seattle and Portland effectively are cut off from land transportation.

Indications are that skies are clearing and the precip may be slowing. Couldn't come too soon.