The Port of Everett’s attempt to condemn the Kimberly-Clark property is a blatant overreach that is jeopardizing plans to bring jobs back to the waterfront. The Port will host a public meeting on June 4 to consider this decision, and the public should be widely encouraged to attend.
To paint a better picture: The Port and Pacific Stevedoring have been in a competitive bidding process to acquire the property. This came after the Port’s dismissal of numerous attempts to collaborate. Now, instead of letting this fair-market process play out, the Port is attempting an 11th-hour end-run via eminent domain after eight years of inaction with the property.
Pacific Stevedoring and its partners are ready to invest $100 million to develop the site to its full potential and create up to 1,200 new jobs. Should the Port proceed with eminent domain, it would chase these jobs out of town while sticking taxpayers with the bill. It would also deal a blow to the city budget, as the property would be exempt from property tax under Port ownership.
The Port owns a vacant shipyard to the south of the property. Why hasn’t the Port done anything with the land it already owns? Are they planning to use the site as a storage yard for ongoing construction projects at the cost of bringing jobs? The Port’s condemnation announcement is out of bounds, will cost the taxpayers money and ought to be scrutinized at the June 4 meeting.