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Major projects along Washington's waterways promise new commercial, cultural and recreation opportunities. Learn how to contribute to this ongoing Future Tides' project. Plus: 3 news items to keep on your radar.
🗳️Poll: Do you know about another project to add to the map?
Yes, I'll email you.
Maybe, I've got to think about it.
No, but I'll keep an eye out.
Important: Click on the images above and below to view the interactive version. It's way cooler.

The maritime infrastructure of tomorrow

Coast Salish villages. Mosquito fleet piers. Lumber mills. Naval outposts.

All types of shoreline infrastructure built over and on top of as Washington's waterways evolve. That process continues as docks age, habitats are restored and the vacuum of industries or military becomes someone else's opportunity.

The large scale, ambitious projects that transform shorelines and access to the water are not short stories. They take years, face challenges, demand collaboration and sometimes, don't come to fruition.

This interactive Future Tides map is a start. It begins to answer, what's in the works? Is it proposed or being built? When might it be completed and who will it serve?

Click on the maps to open the interactive versions. Once there, hover over a number to learn more about the project. Here is a key with the descriptions and links to additional info.

There are more projects underway, help me learn about them. Contribute to this map by replying to this email or contacting me at about any major maritime-related projects in Washington state that you hear about. Including the project partners, website links, press release, news articles or a project contact is helpful.

P.S. The map and key will be published together online in a way that's easy to share. I'll send that link next time.

On the radar: Dockworkers' automation issue, cruise ships return to Seattle and wind farms off the Oregon Coast

🤖 Automation is a major item in the upcoming longshore union’s contract negotiations. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association will begin contract negotiations next week, about six weeks before the current contract expires. 

  • Other major issues include pandemic safety, port backlogs and declining exports. The negotiations will be closely watched, including by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, as many hope to avoid another disruption to the global supply chain.

  • The issue of automation is not new but escalating. The Journal of Commerce reported last year that “the ILWU has increasingly come to see automation as an existential threat and a microcosm of the larger threat of robotics displacing human labor. That is a marked shift from earlier years when they accepted terminals’ right to automate in return for various concessions, including lifetime income for any dockworker whose job is eliminated by automation.”

🚢 The cruise ships are back in Seattle. Welcomed by some and disparaged by others, the towering vessels can once again be seen arriving, anchoring and departing from Elliot Bay. The Port of Seattle announced 295 scheduled sailings in 2022, up from 211 in 2019 and a 40% increase.

  • The CDC is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise ship that docked in Seattle on May 3 following reports from passengers that the crew was “overwhelmed.”

  • Another cruise-related story making the rounds is about a Seattle couple who retired early by living continuously on cruise ships.

🎏 The U.S. Department of the Interior identified two potential locations off the Oregon Coast for offshore wind farms. The areas are about 12 nautical miles offshore Coos Bay and Brookings. The announcement is not unexpected, given the Biden Administration’s push for alternative energy sources including wind farms. 

  • This week, Oregon fishermen organized a protest to ensure their concerns are considered as the process moves forward.
  • The nonprofit Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee, the subject of a previous Future Tides' article, offers a model for collaboration between fishermen and major offshore infrastructure through its undersea cable partnerships.

A few weeks ago in New York City, I took a passenger ferry across the East River. On the Manhattan side, the docks looked new. The river current pushed brownish water against the modern pilings and forced the aluminum catamaran ferry to rev its diesel engines to stay in place.

Disembarking in Williamsburg, next to the shiny gangway, I saw a derelict dock tilting into the river surrounded by a boom to prevent pollution. New York City is the definition of multi-layered, including its waterfront. 

Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have fewer layers but new ones are being added.
Projects that reimagine maritime infrastructure and shoreline access take years but when completed, can be transformative. These endeavors begin with great vision and significant hurdles to overcome. They promise access, recreation, commerce or jobs. 

I’ve witnessed two such projects completed: A marina and former mill demolished to create Fritz Hedges Waterway Park. And across Lake Washington, the City of Bellevue accomplished what seemed impossible, securing property along the expensive shores of Meydenbauer Bay to make the waterfront more accessible to the public.

Keeping tabs on a project for years isn’t easy. This new Future Tides’ map is a start. We will see how these visions become a reality, adding the latest layer.

Until next time,
- Cara

P.S. Thank you to a friend who pointed out I didn't have a good way to share and subscribe. Now there's a "Forward to a friend" option below👇 
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