Issue

January 2017

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From this Issue

A look ahead at the news business, the Seattle waterfront and transportation.

Boeing’s Ray Conner and 6 other contributors on how certain sectors will fare in 2017.

From his office in Seattle’s City Hall, Ben Noble can see that change is in the air. Fall has given way to winter, and cargo ships, ferry boats and construction cranes move about under a blanket of gray. Occupying the city budget director’s thoughts is the worrisome realization that the boom times in Seattle might be coming to an end.

 
With evidence of a booming economy practically everywhere we look — help-wanted signs, local government surpluses, congested freeways — it is difficult to imagine a slowdown,” I said at a business leadership conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in early 1990. “But a closer look at the nature of the Seattle economy and its recent growth portends change.”
 

Under Ed Murray, Seattle has become recognized nationally for promoting progressive policies like the $15 minimum wage, but he also sees the need for more centralization in the mayor’s office to implement better controls over the city’s large bureaucracy.

In Seattle and Portland, there’s a new kind of apartment building taking shape.

Need a quick oil change? Maybe a complete tune-up? A year-old startup called Wrench dispatches a certified mechanic to your home or workplace and eliminates the hassle and cost of having to drop off your car at the car dealer or repair shop.

As every first-year business student knows, a city’s economy is not considered “world class” until said city has erected at least four shrines to professional sports and these shrines remain empty and unused most days of the year.

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the outlook for 2017. After 90 months of growth, the economic expansion is aging and may not have much life left.

Jim Tracy runs a company that maintains and repairs wireless communications towers, many of them in some of the most rugged and remote country across eight Western states. Just getting to the towers sometimes requires off-road vehicles and snowcats, says Tracy, the CEO of Legacy Towers in the Kitsap County community of Burley.