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1) In a sort of cultural exchange between the city of Seattle and its neighbors to the east, Seattle City Council members and Eastern Washington state legislators plan to visit each other's cities in the coming months, council member Sally Bagshaw says. At the

invitation of state Sen. Curtis King (R-14, Yakima) and Rep. Mike Armstrong (R-12, Wenatchee), council members plan to visit both cities this spring and have invited both King and Armstrong to Seattle.

"Usually, you think [of cultural exchanges in terms of] going to another country. This is jut going to another county," Bagshaw says.

"They said, 'Why don't you come over to Yakima and see our fancy new health sciences center?' So I said, 'Great, and will you come over here to Seattle and get on the bus with me at 7 in the morning?" Bagshaw says. She says she hopes to schedule both trips sometime in April.

2) Council members say that a vote to fund a new downtown waterfront seawall---a key component of the city's waterfront planning process, as well as the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct---probably won't happen this year, thanks to the ongoing budget crunch and the fact that the seawall proposal is still a work in progress.

"

The odds are against" a 2012 vote, council member Richard Conlin says. "I think we need to hone in more clearly on what we need and how it fits in to the overall proposal for the waterfront before we do anything."



Council transportation chair Tom Rasmussen adds: "The seawall vote is extremely important. That is number one, in terms of what we need to take before the voters that cannot fail."

Mayor Mike McGinn proposed a vote to fund the seawall back in 2010, but that idea was a nonstarter then, in part because the proposal was not based on a level of design that would have allowed an accurate cost estimate.

3) Speaking of the waterfront: Council members say the James Corner Field Operations design, widely lauded as a visionary upgrade to Seattle's touristy, noisy existing waterfront, may prove both unrealistically expensive and unpopular with supporters of institutions like Pike Place Market, which would be heavily impacted by the "folds" and terraces Corner has proposed along the waterfront. One "fold," for example, would create a lid over the Pike Street Hillclimb, a terraced series of stairs that incorporates numerous popular bars and restaurants, including the Zig Zag Cafe.

"It's pretty expensive, and I don't know if it's what Seattle is looking for," says Conlin, co-chair of the council's central waterfront

planning committee. "I think we need to start getting realistic about what's financially possible and more in touch with what Seattle

residents are looking for."

4) Bagshaw says she's looking into replicating a Portland program called the Verde Project, which provides training in plant production and landscape design to residents in environmentally disadvantaged parts of Portland, in South Park. In Portland, the

program offers job training and living-wage jobs to low-income and minority residents, as well as those who have felony convictions and have trouble finding jobs as a result.

5) Erica will be on KUOW's "Weekday" roundtable this morning, talking about the city's snow response, gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, Newt Gingrich's desire for an "open marriage," and more. Tune in at 10:oo at 94.9 FM or online.

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