Commissioner Felleman is correct. It’s none of those things. It’s a payoff and a shiny penny trick. It’s another attempt by the Port to provide some sort of half-baked ‘philanthropy’ to distract people from the real health and financial problems created by the airport.
The Port seems willing to do just about anything -except- provide real solutions to the noise, pollution and economic damage to residents’ property.
And the fact that the Commissioner is the point person on this during his election season is quite a bit of good luck. I can’t blame him for being a very good politician.
The Port of Seattle will be making $10 million available for projects “that may include support for addressing airport noise and other projects that support increased environmental health and sustainability,” Port staff told the SeaTac City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday night, July 9.
$10 million in five years
Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman and Port environmental engagement program manager Andy Gregory, told the Council about its new South Seattle Community fund, which the port’s website says “will make investments of up to $10 million over the next five years in programs that may include support for addressing airport noise and other projects that support increased environmental health and sustainability.”
There is $750,000 earmarked to be spent in this year, to “sort of jump start the process.”
The Port commission has approved principles to expand outreach efforts and the funding of projects … which will provide resources and support to airport communities which will “prioritize community input, promote innovation, support Port equity policies and practices, and build on established programs to provide added benefit to the area residents.”
Felleman said the fund was “in recognition of the fact communities near the airport and surrounding areas are disproportionally impacted” by the activities of an ever growing airport.
“This is not a … mitigation fund, this is not a third runway fund, this is a broadly recognized ‘We’re neighbors fund’ not to be confused with any sort of specific mitigation,” said Felleman. “However, there are a lot a people out here that have their own idea on how to spend this money,” but he added decisions would be made by the members of the Port Commission and not Port staff.
“We are going to engage in a very robust community outreach process,” he said, acknowledging that there would be government processes involved in dispensing the money.
Andy Gregory said there are legal limits on what the Port can spend money on and it is developing “project selection criteria based on these limits.” He added that the Port hopes to get some money into the community for projects by this fall.
He told the Council he wanted the city to get ideas and suggestions from community members and pass them on to the Port, a normal city process for anyone aware of how the SeaTac Council and city staff operates.