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Seattle Voters' Guide  

Statement For Proposition 1

Save Our Sea Wall: A Critical Public Safety investment

This measure is a critical public safety investment first and foremost. Seattle’s Waterfront Seawall ranges from 75 to almost 100 years old and has deteriorated to the point where it may completely fail in an earthquake or large storm. This could lead to the collapse of the Alaskan Way surface street, waterfront piers and businesses, the ferry terminal and Port of Seattle facilities. Major utilities including power, sewer and storm water, natural gas and telecommunications are also at risk. It is time to make a needed investment for the safety and future of our waterfront.

Generations ago, Seattle residents built the seawall as an investment in public health and safety and to facilitate growth of a new economy and city. A new seawall will not only protect the safety, mobility and economy of our waterfront and downtown, but allow us to realize future economic and civic potential.

This measure also helps to fund critical improvements to publicly owned piers that right now are unsafe and unusable. While replacing the seawall, we can save money and give new life to these important public spaces on our waterfront.

A New Seawall: The Foundation of a Waterfront for All

While this measure is designed to fund the public safety need for a new seawall, the replacement project is the critical first step in a larger vision to revitalize the downtown waterfront. The City Council and Mayor—following significant public input— have approved a framework plan for a new Alaskan Way surface street, new parks, picnic areas, open space and paths for walking, biking and running after the Viaduct is taken down.

The new seawall will be designed to improve and protect salmon habitat and the ecology of Elliott Bay.

Accountable and Affordable

This 30 year measure will cost the average Seattle household less than $59/ year— just under $5 per month. Oversight is provided by the Central Waterfront Committee, a citizens group appointed by the Mayor and City Council, assuring accountability to taxpayers.

Seattle Agrees: Yes on Prop 1

The Seawall replacement bond measure is endorsed by neighborhood, community and public safety leaders across Seattle, The Greater Seattle Chamber and King County Labor Council, Mayor and City Council, Seattle Aquarium Society and Leonard the Goldfish, Aquarium spokesfish; and many, many more.

Statement submitted by:

Charley Royer, former Mayor and co-chair, Central Waterfront Committee
Kenny Stuart, President, Seattle Firefighters Local 27
David Freiboth, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, ML King County Labor Council

Rebuttal to Statement
For Proposition 1

The Central Waterfront Committee is cloaking the argument for proceeding with this unnecessary bond measure under the pretext that it is “a critical public safety investment”. While there may be a pressing need to address the condition of the seawall, there has been no showing to suggest it is a need deserving of a 30-year commitment of over a billion dollars by all property owners in Seattle.

Both the WSDOT Ferries Division and the Port of Seattle are able to finance their own seawall improvement with routine maintenance funds.

The alleged “collapse of … waterfront piers and businesses” is fear-mongering claptrap.

Importantly, the June 1, 2010 study for the city, Feasibility Analysis of Special Benefits, shows downtown waterfront property owners gaining up to $1.95 billion in “Special Benefits”.

Logically, a Local Improvement District (LID) should finance this project so those who benefit pay its cost.

Statement submitted by:

Christopher V. Brown, P.E. Committee Chairman
Ed Plute
E-mail Address:


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