• Government shutdown hits home

    By: Rick Price


    SEATTLE - The shutdown of the U.S. government which followed Congress' failure to agree on a temporary funding bill is coming straight home to Washington State.

    Two of the most noticeable ways are the immediate closure of the national parks, and furloughs for civilian workers at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.

    A Navy memo KIRO 7 found online overnight directs civilian workers to report for their next work shift as usual.  That's when they'll find out if they'll stay, or face indefinite furloughs.  The memo goes on to say that unless Congress takes action, even the folks who keep working might not get paid.  The Navy document quotes planning from 2011 as saying about 40 percent probably will keep their jobs.

     It seems the shutdown will also delay the hiring process for more than a thousand people who applied for jobs as "helper trainees" at the shipyard, in a story KIRO 7 first showed you September 24. 

     That process is held up, in part, because the people who are supposed to be processing the applicants, will themselves be on furlough.

     Washington's 13 National Parks started to shut down immediately Tuesday morning.  The entrances, including the iconic gateway to Mount Rainier, are being secured. 

     Guests at the hotels in the parks, and at the campgrounds, are being given 48 hours to get out.  Rangers are going out to give the same message to people in the backcountry.

     The ripple effect of all this could be costly.  In an online posting, the National Park Service points to $261 million in economic benefit from National Park tourism in 2011 alone.

     The potential cost of this closure is unclear.  It depends in part on how long it goes, and how it is resolved. 

     Meanwhile, even federal employees who are being furloughed will be working for a few hours today, to accomplish "an orderly shutdown."

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