There are a lot of opinions about what projects should get a green light at the Port of Tacoma. In the last few years there’s been more of a push to move away from the traditional industries like mines and fossil fuels to more environmentally-conscious plans. But not everyone is in agreement.
Candice Ruud is a reporter for The News Tribune and has been covering this issue. KNKX Morning Edition Host Kirsten Kendrick sat down with Ruud to talk about what it’ll take to come up with a plan to guide future projects slated for the Tideflats.
Differing interests between the city and port: "The City of Tacoma obviously has jurisdiction over land use in the city and sets the planning code for the city. But the port is actually an independent municipal corporation that serves the entire county. It has five commissioners that are elected from all parts of the county. And the county outside of Tacoma tends to be a lot more rural, tends to have different goals and objectives for what they want to see at the port. But because the port is in Tacoma's backyard, those voices tend to be the loudest."
Staying true to Tacoma's roots: "A lot of the time the loudest voices in this conversation have been the voices of the environmentalists and the neighbors of the port because they feel very threatened about what's happening. But there is another voice in Tacoma, and those people aren't necessarily showing up to meetings. Maybe they don't have the time, maybe they're more working class individuals. Those two identities still exist in Tacoma."
Forward momentum with projects: "With how much the methanol plant scared people from all walks of life, I don't see the level of involvement that exists now going away. People are just becoming more and more informed, they're getting more and more involved. They're showing up. They're talking to their elected, they're finding out who their port commissioners are and learning about them. I think, no matter what, Tacoma's going to be forced to be more environmentally friendly in the future."