Michael Harthorne
Two Port of Seattle employees converse during a Jan. 6 open house on the future of Fishermen's Terminal. The public turnout at the event was low due to little controversy on the issue, according to Port representatives.

Little disagreement on future of Fishermen's Terminal

A low public turnout and a low-key morning had Port of Seattle representatives feeling positive about a consensus between the Port and the users of Fishermen's Terminal on the future of the the terminal at a Jan. 6 open house.

The Port of Seattle is in the beginning stages of developing a 20-year plan for Fishermen's Terminal.

During a series of presentations to neighborhood and industry groups in the past months, the main desire expressed by the public is that Fishermen's Terminal remain committed to the commercial fishing fleet, said Peter McGraw, officer of public affairs for the Port.

McGraw said the Port has the same desire for Fishermen's Terminal.

"This is the goose that lays the golden egg – it's an economic engine," he said. "We don't want to stop what is working here."

Joseph Gellings, senior planner at the Port of Seattle, said the purpose of the 20-year plan is to look at the buildings and facilities of Fishermen's Terminal, which enables nearly 4,000 jobs, and make sure they provide what the terminal's customers need.

The dozen or so public attendees at the Jan. 6 open house at Fishermen's Terminal were outnumbered by Port employees, but managed to generate a number of ideas for the future of the terminal.

Some of the ideas suggested include a covered work area, reconfigured net sheds, conference rooms, a hardware store and a Viking Bank branch to replace the closed Fishermen's Terminal Bank of America.

Leslie Hughes has worked in a building on Fishermen's Terminal land, which is owned by the Port of Seattle, since 1987. She said she wants to make sure her building is still there when the 20-year plan goes into effect.

Hughes said it is also important that the fishing industry still have room for their nets and gear at Fishermen's Terminal.

"It's a unique area because it definitely is home to the commercial fishing fleet," she said.

Hughes said she thinks the Port of Seattle's improvements to Fishermen's Terminal in the last 20 years have been very good.

During the past two decades, the Port has spent more than $60 million on Fishermen's Terminal upgrades.

One of the major concerns in the past is that the Port of Seattle will develop housing, such as condos, on Fishermen's Terminal property.

McGraw said that is not, and has never been, in the Port's plans for the terminal.

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