EDITOR’S NOTE: Really no debate, Renton is right place for the FAA

I think Renton. I think airplanes I think Kent. I think lettuce. I think FAA. I think sky. Airplanes, sky. Lettuce, floodplains. It seems to me that Renton is a pretty darn good fit for the Federal Aviation Administration. It has been for 20 years.

I think Renton. I think airplanes

I think Kent. I think lettuce.

I think FAA. I think sky.

Airplanes, sky. Lettuce, floodplains.

It seems to me that Renton is a pretty darn good fit for the Federal Aviation Administration. It has been for 20 years.

Frankly, I see no reason for the FAA to leave Renton, arguably one of the birthplaces of commercial flight in the world. But, the General Services Administration has opened up the competition for a new FAA regional headquarters to five cities. They are, besides Renton and Kent, Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines. One of Tukwila’s offerings is on undeveloped land just southwest of Southcenter Mall, not far from the Green River.

Renton has 10 possible locations for the FAA; Kent has one, near State Route 167, which Kent officials say acts as basically a dam to protect the downtown site from Green River flooding. The land was intended for an aquatics center.

The search for a site for an expanded FAA headquarters shines a bright light on the physical and psychological threat the Green River is posing to one of the largest commercial and industrial complexes on the West Coast.

Officials up and down the Green River Valley are saying that threat is hurting the economy through the loss of employers and jobs and eventually that slowdown in economic activity will hurt the finances of cities.

It’s possible any Valley-floor sites will run afoul of concerns about flooding and a new federal map that redelineates the river’s floodplain due out this year. Kent’s officials say they are out of the woods on that issue.

A suggested Tukwila site is near the river, too, but may be protected by levees.

But only one of Renton’s potential 10 sites has a possible issue with floodplains.

There’s no solace in using potential flooding as a way to bolster Renton’s case for the new FAA headquarters. But at least it is a consideration the GSA should consider carefully – along with the fact that when the world thinks of commercial airplanes, it thinks Renton.

(Yes, I know that the FAA does a lot more than just pay attention to building American planes.)

And besides that the FAA’s roughly 1,600 employees are comfortably ensconced in Renton, with commute patterns set and lunch places already identified.

E-mail us, vehicle-theft victims

Renton Reporter Celeste Gracey, with the help of the Renton Police Department, has collected some fascinating data about where vehicle thefts have occurred in the last year or so in Renton.

It’s the type of theft of touches many families. From the data, it’s obvious a lot of Renton families have been hit by the crime.

If you have a story to tell about how such a theft affected you, please contact Celeste via her e-mail, cgracey@rentonreporter.com.

The June fire reverberates

I’ve talked to Tom Swanson several times over the past few months, mostly about how he is managing to keep his A-1Vacuum and Locksmith business going after his location of 15 years was destroyed in last June’s five-alarm fire on Wells Avenue.

It’s truly nice to see a smile on his face these days. He’s moving back to Wells, in a spot that seems to serve him well. He’ll have brother Bud with him to do their vacuum repairs.

It saddens Tom that a couple businesses that helped him through the tough times have gone out of business. But what’s not gone is the can-do spirit of downtown businesspeople like Tom Swanson.


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