Boeing announcing the halting of production of its troubled 737 Max airliner was voted Washington state's top news story of 2019 by Associated Press staff.
Other top news items of the past 12 months included the Sounders winning their second MLS Cup, Jay Inslee’s run for president and Amazon’s big-money backfire in Seattle City Council elections.
Here are 2019's Top Washington stories:
1) BOEING-737 MAX: In December the Boeing Co. said it would temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet as it struggles to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air. Production would halt at its Renton, Washington, plant, though the company said it didn’t expect immediate layoffs. The Max has been grounded since March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.
2) DOWNTOWN SEATTLE TUNNEL OPENS: A new, four-lane tunnel under downtown Seattle opened in February, marking the completion of a $3.3 billion project to replace an earthquake-damaged waterfront bridge. The tunnel, bookended by the tech-centric South Lake Union neighborhood and the city’s sports stadiums, opened three years behind schedule. It replaced the iconic Alaskan Way Viaduct.
3) SOUNDERS BIG WIN: In November the Seattle Sounders won the team’s second MLS Cup, besting Toronto 3-1. The game was played in Seattle before 69,274 people, the largest crowd to see a soccer match in Seattle, and the second-largest to witness an MLS Cup final. Seattle became the sixth franchise in league history with multiple titles.
4) LAWMAKER LABELED ‘DOMESTIC TERRORIST’: A report released in December found that state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, took part in “domestic terrorism” against the United States during a 2016 standoff at a wildlife refuge in Oregon and traveled throughout the West meeting with far-right extremist groups. Shea has been suspended from the GOP caucus. He says he won’t resign and has called the report prepared for the Legislature “a sham investigation.”
5) UW FOOTBALL COACH QUITS: Following his team’s seventh straight Apple Cup victory over the Cougars, Washington football coach Chris Peterson unexpectedly resigned. Petersen had been one of college football’s most successful coaches over the last two decades, going 147-38 combined during his time at Boise State and Washington. With the Huskies, Petersen has a 55-26 record, won two Pac-12 titles.
6) DEADLY CRANE COLLAPSE: In April a crane collapsed in Seattle’s booming South Lake Union neighborhood, landing on traffic below. Two iron workers on the crane and two people in cars were killed. The crane had been used in the construction of a Google office building. An investigation found that the crane toppled in a wind gust because the workers who were disassembling it prematurely removed pins securing sections of the crane’s mast.
7) INSLEE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT: Gov. Jay Inslee mounted a campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, the first-high profile Washingtonian to make a bid for the nation’s highest office since 1976 when Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson ran as a Democrat. Inslee made climate change the central theme of his campaign, which attracted positive media attention but failed to gain traction with voters. He dropped out in August and announced he would instead seek a third term as governor.
8) PUBLIC RECORDS RULING: The Washington Supreme Court ruled in December that state lawmakers are subject to the same public disclosure rules that apply to other elected officials and agencies. The justices heard arguments in June on the appeal of a case that was sparked by a September 2017 lawsuit filed by a media coalition led by The Associated Press. Lawmakers had long said they are not subject to the law that applies to officials across the state, from school board members and county commissioners to agency heads.
9) EDGAR IN HALL OF FAME: In July Edgar Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The long-time Mariners designated hitter was a seven-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award five times during the 18 years he spent in Seattle. . When he retired, Martinez was one of only six players in history with a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, 500 doubles and 300 home runs.
10) AMAZON-SEATTLE ELECTIONS: Amazon spent $1.5 million this election season to try to get a more business-friendly City Council in its Seattle hometown. The e-commerce giant’s plunge into local politics didn’t pan out as the company hoped. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren accused Amazon of trying to buy the council and most of the business-backed candidates lost, meaning when the new council convenes in January new taxes on big businesses will almost certainly be on the table.
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