King County, Seattle leaders OK arena pacts

October 23, 2012

Local leaders granted unanimous approval Oct. 15 to proceed on a Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

King County Council members approved the final memorandum of understanding and interlocal agreement among the county, Seattle and investor Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo.

The decision by the council — and the Seattle City Council’s decision to adopt the pacts the same day — is a key step in the effort to bring professional basketball and hockey teams to the region.

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King County Council approves amended arena proposal

October 16, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 16, 2012

King County and Seattle leaders granted unanimous approval Monday to proceed on a Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

King County Council members approved the final memorandum of understanding and interlocal agreement among the county, Seattle and investor Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo. The decision by the council — and the Seattle City Council’s decision to adopt the memorandum of understanding and interlocal agreement Monday — is a key step in the effort to bring professional basketball and hockey teams to the region.

The agreement allows for up to $200 million in public dollars to finance a $490 million arena near Safeco Field.

In May, County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joined Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, and announced a pact between the county, city and ArenaCo to govern financing for a proposed arena.

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Arena proposal to return to King County Council

September 18, 2012

King County leaders praised the proposed agreement between Seattle City Council members and the lead investor behind a proposal to build a $490 million sports-and-entertainment arena in Seattle.

Seattle leaders announced revisions to the proposed arena deal Sept. 11, and a council committee later endorsed the revised proposal. The package is expected to reach the full council for a decision Sept. 24.

Then, the measure returns to the King County Council for approval.

The updated agreement creates a $40 million transportation infrastructure fund to address long-standing transportation problems near the proposed arena, plus other stipulations.

The package does not include additional taxes for county residents.

In July, county leaders agreed to contribute up to $80 million for the arena, if investors can secure NBA and NHL franchises.

Revised arena deal requires King County Council approval

September 12, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 12, 2012

King County leaders praised the proposed agreement between Seattle City Council members and the lead investor behind a proposal to build a sports-and-entertainment arena in Seattle.

Seattle leaders announced revisions to the proposed arena deal Tuesday. King County Council members approved the arena proposal July 30, but any changes adopted by the Seattle City Council must go to the King County Council for approval.

“This is a great sign of progress. I always felt this proposal presented a win-win opportunity to bring back our Sonics, secure an NHL team and address the existing transportation issues south of downtown,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

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Off the Press

August 28, 2012

When news photographs whistled through wires

Our recent story about the book by Barry Sweet, the Seattle Associated Press photographer for more than three decades, brought back a lot of memories. I visited with Barry at the Issaquah Costco and enjoyed reliving old times.

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Would you believe that once upon a time, it took 10 minutes to send one black-and-white photograph to newspapers across the country? And 40 minutes to send color?

While studying at the University of Washington, I landed a job in 1977 as one of five wirephoto operators at the Seattle bureau, working right next to Barry Sweet at the same desk and the same darkroom for two years.

A wirephoto — or Laserphoto — transmitter was about the size and weight of a carton of 10 reams of office paper. We typed a caption on sticky paper, put it on the margin of an 8-by-10 print, put it in the slot and pressed start.

The picture would slowly feed at an inch per minute as the laser would scan 120 lines an inch, turn the shades of gray into a constant rapid whistling of high- to low-pitched sound frequencies and send it across telephone lines.

Receivers at the nation’s newspapers would expose glossy thermal paper with synchronized lasers at the same time and spit out their reproductions when the transmission was done.

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NBA player Nate Robinson brings hoops camp to Issaquah

August 14, 2012

He knows how to play basketball. He knows how to play coy.

Nate Robinson, point guard for the Chicago Bulls, demurred when he was asked to specify where in Issaquah he lives during the offseason.

“Just put around Issaquah, in the city,” he said by phone from the Windy City, his fifth NBA stop in a seven-year career.

Robinson will direct an Elite Youth basketball clinic in his offseason hometown this summer. The camp will occur at the Issaquah Community Center Aug. 18 and 19.

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King County councilwoman touts arena proposal’s economic potential

August 7, 2012

Before the King County Council made a landmark decision to authorize public dollars for a sports-and-entertainment arena, Kathy Lambert received 2,700 emails.

The councilwoman, a Redmond resident and the Issaquah representative on the council, said most messages urged the council to approve the arena proposal.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

In the end, after months of discussion and hours of testimony, Lambert joined the council majority to approve a key agreement for a $490 million arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball back to Washington.

The council agreed July 30 to contribute up to $80 million for a proposed Seattle arena near Safeco Field — if investors can secure NBA and NHL franchises. The county contribution is capped at $5 million if only professional basketball comes to the arena.

The agreement does not include additional taxes for county residents. Plans call for 30-year public bonds to finance the arena, and for arena revenue to pay off the bond debt.

Lambert later cited the proposed arena’s economic benefits — jobs for arena construction and operation, plus tax revenue for the county and a tourism attraction — for the region as reasons for the yes vote.

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Local King County Council representatives split on arena deal

July 31, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 31, 2012

The local representatives on the King County Council, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn, came down on opposite sides Monday as the council approved a key agreement for a $490 million arena — a linchpin in the plan to bring professional basketball back to Seattle.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

The council agreed to contribute up to $80 million for a proposed Seattle arena near Safeco Field — if investors can secure NBA and NHL franchises. The county contribution is capped at $5 million if only professional basketball comes to the arena.

In a 6-3 decision, after hours of testimony from the public and several amendments from council members, Lambert and others agreed to support the arena pact. Dunn, and councilmen Larry Phillips and Pete von Reichbauer, dissented.

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King County Council offers public last chance to comment on arena proposal

July 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 28, 2012

The public can comment on a proposal to build a Seattle sports and entertainment arena before the King County Council considers the arena agreement.

The council is scheduled to hold a final public hearing on the proposal at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The sign-up to testify before the council starts at 12:30 p.m.

The council meets in the Council Chambers on the 10th floor at the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle.

Or watch the meeting live online, on King County TV, Comcast and Broadstripe Channel 22.

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King County Council leaders request arena reviews

July 24, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called July 9 for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to investigate legal costs involved in reviewing a proposed agreement to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

In a letter to Satterberg, von Reichbauer asked for the number of hours attorneys in the prosecutor’s office spent reviewing the agreement and the cost of review, plus how much the office spent on outside attorneys.

The day after von Reichbauer sent the letter, Councilman Bob Ferguson called for a detailed and independent analysis to determine the arena’s impact on jobs and the economy.

Ferguson intends to propose amending the agreement under consideration to require the analysis after the King County Council and the Seattle City Council approve the pact for the arena.

The request comes as the councils delve deeper into the proposal to build a facility for professional basketball and hockey.

The amount of public support is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the NBA franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if the NHL is added to the equation.

In June, von Reichbauer called for the arena proposal to go before voters.

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