Court Rejects Longshoremen's Challenge to Seattle Arena Plan

Sep 9, 2013

A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union opposes the SoDo location, saying that a new arena there will snarl traffic and make it hard to move freight out of the port. In its lawsuit, the union argued the city, county and investor Chris Hansen had predetermined that SoDo was the best site for the venue before weighing all the environmental consequences.

The appellate judges disagreed, saying the agreement does not set anything in stone. Attorney Peter Goldman, who represented the union, says the judges concluded the union sued prematurely.

"The court simply said,`You’re too early,'" he said. "So all of the arguments we made can be made again and now the ball shifts to the environmental impact statement process."

Goldman says his clients may sue again if the city and county sign a deal with Hansen after the environmental study is done. He says the public should pay attention even though Chris Hansen failed to get the Sacramento Kings.

The city is holding hearings on a draft environmental impact statement this month. Goldman says now is when important decisions about the site are being made, even without a team in place. 

The first public hearing on the draft EIS is scheduled to be held on Tuesday night.