Port of Seattle Takes Action on Climate Change and Sustainability

Port builds on solar power pilot at Fishermen’s Terminal with larger solar plan for the roof at Pier 69 Headquarters 

Port of Seattle Commissioners passed an Energy and Sustainability Motion that charts a new course toward the Port’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance sustainability and assess new opportunities for sourcing renewable energy. One of the most tangible aspects of progress on sustainability at the Port is the new solar array currently being installed at Fishermen’s Terminal. The Port’s proposed 2018 budget includes an even larger project to add solar energy to the roof of its Pier 69 building.

“In addition to reducing the Port’s carbon emissions and working to reduce the competing demands on Washington’s hydropower system, these projects demonstrate how the Port can lead efforts to reduce the increasingly obvious impacts of climate change on the environment and our quality of life,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, who co-chairs the Port’s Energy and Sustainability Committee with Commissioner Courtney Gregoire. 

“Today’s action reinforces the Port of Seattle’s commitment to sustainable economic growth and should encourage expanded innovation in green technology. From biofuels at Sea-Tac Airport to solar panels at Fishermen’s Terminal, we look forward to strengthening partnerships to make our region a market leader in the green economy,” Commissioner Gregoire added. 

Energy and Sustainability

Watch local solar experts and Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman describe current and future renewable energy and sustainability projects at the Port of Seattle.

The Motion will direct the Port of Seattle to:

  1. Develop a Sustainability Evaluation Framework to assist the Commission helping the Port meet its greenhouse gas reduction and sustainability goals by increasing the transparency of project impacts.

  2. Select up to four pilot projects, divided between the airport and maritime, to identify the framework and process that incorporates environmental and societal components in design and decision-making for Port construction and operations. The solar project at Pier 69 should be selected as the first pilot project to test the Port’s new evaluation framework.

  3. Ensure sufficient resources to track greenhouse gas reduction and implement sustainable design principles.

  4. Expand our carbon reduction emission goal in the Port’s Century Agenda to include indirect emissions. The Port’s goal is for Port-controlled and indirect emissions to be carbon neutral or carbon negative by 2050. 

  5. Increase collaboration with the Northwest Seaport Alliance through the Sustainability Center of Expertise.

Fishermens Terminal net shed solar panels


Rendering of solar power array on Fishermen’s Terminal Net Shed 5. The solar panel installation should generate approximately 11,000 kWh of power annually, enough to power the building’s operations. A Washington State based company manufactured the solar panels and a local company will perform installation. Completion: early 2018. 

Pier 69 soalr panel rendering


Rendering of solar power array on Port of Seattle’s Pier 69 office building. The solar panel installation could generate approximately 320,000 kWH of power annually and defer 11,000 lbs. of CO2. The project, if approved, would be partially funded by a grant from Washington State Department of Commerce.


“The Port knows that a more prosperous future is also a cleaner, more sustainable one,” said Vlad Gutman-Britten, Washington Director of Climate Solutions. “These policies put the Port of Seattle on a path towards environmental leadership that reflects the values of this region.”

The Energy and Sustainability Motion marks a major milestone for the Port, which two years ago began significant internal, policy and operational changes that will contribute to a healthier environment and communities. Significant conservation and sustainability actions from the past two years have included:

  • Creating a consolidated Sustainability Center of Expertise to better share information and strategies between environmental experts in aviation and maritime;

  • Establishing the new policy-making Energy and Sustainability Committee that includes Port Commissioners, staff and was advised by external stakeholders;

  • Creating a first-of-its kind Marine Stormwater Utility, which relies on tenants and business unit fees to assess, repair and improve stormwater infrastructure, including adding green infrastructure to manage stormwater;

  • Setting more ambitious goals for reducing Port-controlled carbon emissions;

  • Increasing energy efficiency through upgrades and new equipment, including converting CNG buses to electric;

  • Pursuing opportunities to supply sustainable aviation biofuel to all airlines fueling at Sea-Tac Airport;

  • Sourcing new wind-powered electricity, renewable natural gas and renewable diesel; and

  • Improving the walkway between public transit stations and the airport terminal by adding an electric cart shuttle, increasing wayfinding, adding weatherization panels and improving lighting.

The Port of Seattle set a goal to be the greenest, most energy efficient port in North America. The Port’s environmental programs cover air quality, energy, clean water, habitat and wildlife management, noise abatement, recycling and solid waste management and cleaning up industrial contamination. In addition to maintaining its aviation and maritime facilities, the Port manages 24 acres of waterfront parks using organic landscaping practices.  

WA L&I Cites Company for Shorting Workers Over $155,000

Six construction workers were shorted more than $155,000 in wages for work on a Belfair senior center, according to a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation.

The workers are owed about $25,000 each for wood framing at the Belfair HUB Senior Center. Their employer, Integrity Construction LLC, was on the project from May to August 2015. L&I notified the company of the violation in August, 2017.

L&I’s investigation found the Tacoma company owes $156,692.48 in wages and more than $30,000 in fines and penalties. Integrity did not appeal the violation and is barred from bidding on future public works projects until the money is paid.

“Integrity vastly underpaid its employees for the work they did,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director for L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division. “By making sure contractors pay their workers fairly, we are creating a level playing field for firms in the construction industry.”

The Belfair project received $1.86 million from the state’s capital budget. That meant Integrity was required to follow the state’s prevailing wage law. L&I enforces the law, which protects workers by setting the wages for specific work.

Because the project owner was a non-profit and not a public agency, the organization was not required to post a performance bond or hold money aside until the project was completed, called retainage, for situations like this.

“It’s important that agencies and non-profits understand that using public money on a project means it’s covered under prevailing wage,” Smith said. “The law’s safeguards would have assured protection for the workers’ wages.”

Belfair’s Hospitality, Unity, and Belonging (HUB) Senior Center, valued at a reported $3.5 million, opened in May 2016. At 15,000 square feet, the structure houses a thrift store, meeting space, and kitchen. PHC Construction of Bainbridge Island was the prime contractor.

Photo credit: Faith in Action

Badly Burned on the Job? New Center of Excellence at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, WA

Burns are among the most painful on-the-job injuries. Each year, hundreds of workers in Washington are burned on the job so severely that they require specialized medical care. The care and support these injured workers receive are key to their recovery and return to work.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Harborview Medical Center opened a new Center of Excellence for medical care for burns in August, 2017. The agreement expanded workers’ access to a range of specialists who collaborate throughout the worker’s recovery.

“Getting the right care at the right time is crucial for these catastrophically injured workers,” said Joel Sacks, director of L&I. “We hope to make their recovery better and a little easier by improving access to specialists.”

“The new Center of Excellence for Burns will help us streamline multi-disciplinary care to Washington’s workers who sustain devastating burns,” said Dr. Nicole Gibran, director of the Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, part of University of Washington (UW) Medicine. “By coordinating care with providers who understand burn injuries, we facilitate physical and psychological recovery.”

National data has shown that nearly 50 percent of adult burn patients do not return to work two years after injury and 28 percent never return to work. In contrast, a recent study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research showed that 93 percent of workers with work-related burns who were treated at the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview returned to work on average 24 days after injury. The research attributes these dramatically improved outcomes to the broad support the worker receives from employers and workers’ compensation claims staff, and to the specialized and comprehensive burn care at Harborview.

To streamline care for burned workers insured by L&I, a group of highly-trained staff from the agency manages catastrophic claims. They will coordinate closely with UW Medicine and with staff wherever workers continue treatment.

The new center is part of an L&I project  to improve care for catastrophically injured workers. This is the second center of excellence; the first, for amputations, was established in early 2016.

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images on Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

Port of Seattle to Develop Property in Sea-Tac, WA

The Port of Seattle Commission voted to select Trammel Crow Company (TCC) as a developer for its Des Moines Creek North site in the City of SeaTac. The proposed development will create more than 356,000 square feet of high quality, light industrial space with supporting warehouse functions within two industrial buildings. Tenants may include food processors, manufacturers, and logistics providers that support the aviation and air cargo industries.

“With this investment, the Port of Seattle continues to provide leadership in economic development,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “This land will provide essential industrial and family-wage jobs for our region.”

TCC is one of the nation’s leading developers and investors in commercial real estate, having developed or acquired more than 2,600 buildings valued at more than $60 billion and over 565 million square feet. TCC has created a new, wholly-owned company TC Northwest Development, for this ground lease and investment. TCC was recently named as the #1 Development Company in the US for 2016.

The investment made at Des Moines Creek-North will help advance economic development within the City of SeaTac and for surrounding communities:

  • The project will provide approximately 90+ prevailing wage construction jobs during the build out of the property. At full occupancy, the development will be home to approximately 400+ full-time employees with an estimated payroll of more than $28 million annually.
  • The project complements the nearby Des Moines Creek Business Park by adding additional best-in-class industrial inventory that will continue to attract and retain growing firms, keeping jobs within King County and the nearby region.
  • The design and construction will be completed primarily by locally owned, private small businesses. This further serves to promote small business growth and workforce development.
  • The infill location of Des Moines Creek-North will help reduce sprawl by creating new light industrial facilities adjacent to current road infrastructure, highways, and public transportation.

Located south of the Angle Lake light rail station, this 22.47-acre undeveloped property is zoned Aviation Commercial (“AVC”) and will expand upon the success of the industrial development at the Des Moines Creek Business Park. It will also represent the first new industrial development on Port property in the City of SeaTac in many years. The City of SeaTac has voiced its support for the development here

Photo on Foter.com

Kent, WA Landscaper with History of Illegal Contracting Charged in Consumer Scams

A Kent man faces criminal charges in a scheme that left consumers with unfinished and botched landscaping projects despite paying thousands of dollars.

Honorio Mendez-Ortega, 42, faces four counts of performing or offering to perform work as a construction contractor without being registered by the state.

Mendez-Ortega has pleaded not guilty to the charges in King County District Court. He goes by multiple aliases, including Honorio “Orio” Mendez, Antonio Mendez, Honorio Mendez Ortega, and Honorio Ortega Mendez.

The King County Prosecutor filed the charges based on contractor compliance investigations by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Unregistered contracting is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine.

“It’s horrible when someone uses elaborate lies and deception to fool consumers,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director for L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “But we see it all too often. Even if a friend or a home referral service recommends a contractor, you still need to do your homework and check with us for tips.”

Consumers should always hire contractors registered with L&I, and never pay in full until the job is done right.

Renton couple pays $32K for job that was never finished
Consumers found Mendez-Ortega through an online, construction referral service and Craigslist ads. He’s accused of using company names and contractor licenses that were registered to other people.

In the most recent case, investigators say Mendez-Ortega accepted more than $32,000 from a Renton couple last year. According to the charges, he agreed to build an outdoor kitchen and patio and to landscape their yard even though he was not a registered contractor.

Charging papers say that Mendez-Ortega quit in the middle of construction and refused to finish or return the couple’s money. What little work Mendez-Ortega’s crew had done was so poor it had to be redone.

Mendez-Ortega told the couple his business was Best Way Services LLC, a construction company that turned out to be registered to a man in California. The couple wrote two checks to the company, court papers said, and at Mendez-Ortega’s direction, wrote the remaining $17,000 in checks to him personally.

Victims in Kirkland, Maple Valley, Bellevue and Seattle lose $27K
Mendez-Ortega was recently arrested on a bench warrant for three unregistered contracting charges that were filed last year for incidents around King County in 2014 and 2015. The arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear for arraignment.

According to charging papers, Mendez-Ortega failed to finish landscape projects for two of the customers, and never even showed up for work after accepting deposits from two other homeowners.

He falsely told those victims that his business was Spike Services LLC, charging papers said. Though he didn’t own the company, he introduced himself using the real name of the owner. It turned out the owner was a college student from Seattle who was attending classes in Jakarta, Indonesia, when many of the incidents occurred.

Long history with L&I

Since 2013, L&I has cited Ortega-Mendez with 11 civil infractions for unregistered contracting. He owes L&I more than $84,000 in fines, in unpaid employee wages, and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. He owes the state Department of Revenue more than $151,000 in unpaid taxes.

Ortega-Mendez originally used his own name to register two contractor businesses from 2003 to 2011. The registrations were suspended partly because of $83,000 in court judgments to harmed customers. He could not register again until he paid the judgments and met all other requirements.

State law requires construction contractors to register with L&I. The department confirms they have liability insurance, a business license, and a bond – requirements that provide some financial recourse to consumers if problems arise.

L&I can issue violators a civil infraction, refer them for criminal prosecution or both.

Hiring a contractor? Hire smart.

*         Verify contractor registration at ProtectMyHome.net<http://protectmyhome.net/>.

*         Get three written bids.

*         Beware if you’re asked to write checks to an individual, instead of a company.

*         Don’t pay large deposits or entire costs up front.

*         Check out contractor references and credentials.

*         Get more tips at ProtectMyHome.net or call L&I at 1-800-647-0982.

Photo by jamelah on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Port of Seattle Purchases Salmon Bay Marina

Property adjacent to Fishermen’s Terminal to support maritime, industrial development

The Port of Seattle Commission voted to purchase Salmon Bay Marina, located on the Ship Canal adjacent to the Port’s Fishermen’s Terminal facility. The five acre property contains five docks supporting 166 slips measuring 6,547 lineal feet of moorage on freshwater.  The purchase price was $15,679,120.


“The purchase of Salmon Bay Marina is a step toward fulfilling our Century Agenda goal to double the number of jobs in our region associated with fishing and maritime and is financially smart for the Port,” said Commission President Tom Albro. “It also protects urban industrial and maritime land, which is also environmentally wise.”

The property was purchased by the Draper family in 1945 and developed into Salmon Bay Marina. Over the next 72 years, four generations of the family served as stewards of the marina, and are excited to see the Port continue its maritime heritage.

There are a number of potential uses for the property, including light industrial facilities that could support maritime and manufacturing companies in the area. The site could support structures in the range of 60,000 square feet.

“Salmon Bay Marina is a valuable waterfront property perfectly suited for continued maritime use,” said Eugene Wasserman, President of the North Seattle Industrial Association. “I thank the Port of Seattle for preserving this industrial property that will provide jobs and tax revenue throughout our region.”

The existing marina slips will remain, although the house boats will be removed prior to the Port taking possession of the property. Environmental remediation from prior tenants may run close to $900,000.

“We applaud the Port of Seattle for purchasing and preserving this unique freshwater recreational boat facility,” said Peter Schrappen, Director of Government Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association. “These assets are rare, and help maintain maritime and family-wage jobs.”

Click here for more information about the Salmon Bay Marina purchase.

Photo credit: Port of Seattle


WA L&I Updates Guidelines for Foot/Ankle Injury Surgical Treatment

The WA Department of Labor and Industries issued updated guidelines for surgical treatment of foot and ankle injuries in October, 2017. The publication outlines trauma-related conditions and non-work-related conditions that can cause a worker to be predisposed to a foot or ankle injury, and/or can complicate treatment for a work-related condition.

Providers who are in the department’s Medical Provider Network are required to follow this guideline when treating injured workers.a The surgical criteria are used in the department’s utilization review program as the supporting evidence has shown these provide the best chance for injured workers to have a good surgical outcome.

To help ensure that diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions are of the highest quality, this guideline emphasizes:

  • Conducting a thorough assessment and making an accurate diagnosis.
  • Appropriately determining work-relatedness.
  • Making the best treatment decisions that are curative or rehabilitative.b
  • Facilitating the worker’s return to health, productivity, and work.

The guideline was developed in 2016-2017 by a subcommittee of the Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee (IIMAC). The subcommittee was comprised of practicing physicians in rehabilitation medicine, occupational medicine, orthopedic surgery, and podiatry. The guideline recommendations are based on the weight of the best available clinical and scientific evidence from a systematic review of medical literature, and on a consensus of expert opinion when scientific evidence was insufficient or inconclusive.

Peruse the full publication, “Surgical Guideline for Work-related Ankle and Foot Injuries – October 2017” to see every detail of the Department’s position on diagnosis, assessment, return to work and length of disability expected after an ankle injury.

Photo by gm.esthermax on Foter.com / CC BY


WA L&I Acupuncture Pilot Project

DLI has implemented an Acupuncture Pilot Project. It’s only for workers with low back injuries at this time.

The Acupuncture Pilot Project will collect information to inform the provision of acupuncture treatment for low back pain, including acupuncture provided by East Asian Medicine Practitioners (EAMPs), to injured or ill workers covered by Washington’s workers’ compensation system.

This project provides a structured environment for care delivery and capture of data that will inform future L&I payment and coverage methodology for acupuncture.

While the project is underway, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will pay qualified providers participating in the pilot project to deliver acupuncture treatment to injured workers with low back pain related to an accepted condition on a workers’ compensation claim.

Treatment Must Focus on Functional Recovery and Return to Work

Under workers’ compensation insurance, acupuncture treatment must focus on helping occupationally injured and ill workers heal and return to work.

Treatment covered in the pilot project

  • Low back pain related to an accepted condition on a workers’ compensation claim.
  • When ordered by the workers’ attending provider, up to 10 treatments over the lifetime of the claim.
  • When documentation shows clinically meaningful improvement in pain and function.

Treatment NOT covered in the pilot project

  • Treatment beyond the medically necessary number of visits, not to exceed the 10 visit maximum.
  • Injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement.
  • Treatment that does not improve physical function of the industrial injury or occupational disease.
  • Any other modality not specifically listed.

Use of Oswestry Disability Index and 2-item Graded Chronic Pain Scale is required

The insurer uses the patients’ functional scores to assess the improvement in pain and function. Under the terms of the Acupuncture Pilot Project, must be completed and sent to the department as required under authorization and reporting.

Photo by sweetbeetandgreenbean on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Published by Causey Wright