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Council News Release

8/4/2009  11:52:00 AM
Monica Ghosh, Godden Office, (206) 684-8807 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Jean Godden

Statement on NOAA Decision to Relocate to Newport Oregon

I am tremendously disappointed to learn that the NOAA Marine Operation Pacific will be leaving Seattle. I continue to believe the selection of Seattle as a homeport remains the best choice for NOAA and for the future of ocean research.

NOAA has had an excellent and productive working relationship with the University of Washington, the Port of Seattle and with local industry. Seattle offered a site on Lake Union where NOAA vessels, in the past, have been able to moor in fresh water, an enormous advantage for ocean-going vessels. Furthermore this site - unlike others under consideration -- has the advantage of completed environmental assessment.

There is even a second Seattle site on the Duwamish, a site that would enable NOAA to make use of Army Corps of Engineers property. This would have made possible a government to government agency lease. Unfortunately this site only just became available and has not been considered.

I remain convinced Seattle is the best place for NOAA, both from the standpoint of finances, logistics and advancement of scientific research. Clearly the selection committee felt differently, perhaps influenced by millions of dollars in state subsidies offered by the Oregon legislature.

Since I first began working on this issue in 2006, I have had a number of opportunities to meet with NOAA personnel. I am in awe of the contributions they have made to the city, the region and the scientific community. I hope that they will continue to feel welcome here and will maintain a presence in our region.

The announcement that they are leaving must serve as a wakeup call to our city, to our citizens and to our congressional delegation that we must work harder. We must redouble efforts to retain our many valued businesses and economic activities.


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