Saturday, August 29, 2009

Waterfront Redevelopment: How Long Can You Tread Water?

Years ago a Bill Cosby album contained some of his funniest creations.
One of the best was a pretend conversation between Noah and the Lord.
In response to Noah's complaint about cleaning up after the animals he was supposed to gather in the Ark, the Lord said 'Noah, how long can you tread water'.
That definitely got Noah's attention!

Now, another NOAA has a tough assignment, that of explaining it's choice of Newport, OR as its new base for 4 research vessels.
How long can this NOAA take to reassess its site evaluation process and factor into it the fact that Newport is burdened by being in a 100-year flood plain?
Not that the ships won't lift with higher water, just like the Ark was designed to do.
It's the shore facilities that support the ships which seem to be the problem, because Federal law disallows them to be in a flood plain.

Think that little detail isn't important?
We're about to find out, now that Bellingham, Seattle and maybe others as the links below report:

Port of Bellingham will appeal NOAA selection of Newport, Oregon

NOAA's move to Newport hits a legal snag

Appeal filed over plan to move NOAA's fleet

Failing to follow the law is almost always a game changer, but we'll have to wait and see on this one.
Interesting to see the Seattle folks also thought they were the favorites.

Important decisions that threaten produce changes are almost always contentious, but the requirement to follow the law ought not to be.
If an applicable law has been broken or overlooked, that is a fair and objective reason to reopen the NOAA site selection process.
After that legal determination what remains is whether the entire site evaluation process will be redone, or if the second highest rated site is selected.
Bellingham could still become NOAA's new base for its vessels, and if that should occur it would be our great benefit.

Sometimes treading water is necessary, and it is definitely preferable to sinking.
But, having to wade through a flood plain to even reach a ship doesn't sound right, does it?
Maybe NOAA will come our way after all, and that would be a good thing.