April 18, 2016
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Amazon offering a building to house more than 200 homeless

Families will begin moving in today to a free, temporary homeless shelter that Amazon.com is offering to the community for the next year. The housing will be in a former hotel the company owns in downtown Seattle.

Mary’s Place, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless women and their families, will work with Amazon to house more than 200 people for a year in a former Travelodge hotel and dormitory for Cornish College of the Arts. Amazon acquired the 34,500-square-foot building in 2014 as part of its new corporate campus.

Construction won’t start on that lot for a year, so Amazon will let Mary’s Place run the building as a rent-free shelter for 60-70 families, some of them multigenerational, and some with pets.

“It’s an example of collaboration,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who recently declared a homelessness crisis in the city. “This problem cannot be solved by government by itself. It cannot be solved by nonprofits like Mary’s Place by themselves. The fact that Amazon has chosen to be a partner in probably the most difficult crisis the city is facing right now says a lot about their willingness to help us build community and be incredibly caring business partners.”

Amazon Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler said the company has been working to set up the project for the past four months.

“We had a building that’s not being utilized and we had a crisis in our city,” Schoettler said. “It’s an opportunity for Amazon to be a good neighbor and do the right thing.”

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Remove the barriers to prosperity

By Lee Newgent, Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO; Larry Brown, Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751; and Vince O'Halloran, Sailors' Union of the Pacific

Communities across our state are being rocked by the loss of jobs from closures of viable industry and manufacturing -- such as the Alcoa plant in Wenatchee. At the same time, we are facing extreme resistance to use or repurpose sites that have been closed, symptomatic of a growing and devastating "deindustrialization" sentiment. Examples include opposition to the proposal to use a former Alcoa plant for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview, and the proposal in Tacoma -- now on hold -- to convert a former aluminum smelter into a methanol refinery.

It's no secret that our regulatory process is broken. It has become so protracted and unpredictable that we are sending potential investors the unmistakable message that Washington is an inhospitable place to launch new industrial, energy and transportation facilities.

Each of these issues can and must be addressed immediately by state leaders.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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Even uncommon voices can find common ground on energy efficiency

By Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers and Kit Kennedy of the Natural Resources Defense Council

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It's simple, really: by building better buildings, making more innovative products, and using creative manufacturing processes, we can accomplish multiple goals -- reducing wasted resources, improving our electricity system, preventing more toxic pollution, reducing climate change, and fueling economic growth. Many new, innovative energy efficiency products and technologies are made right here by American manufacturers, creating jobs and economic growth across the nation.

Candidates aren't banging their fists on the lectern about energy efficiency. There are no big-budget commercials or fiery debates on TV. But that's not because the issue isn't important. Buildings consume approximately 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Improving energy efficiency of our buildings, and of the appliances and equipment inside them, is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the environment, save money, combat global climate change, and stoke our economy...

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Hill
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