Dori: Why Mike O’Brien was ousted from international gala
Last weekend was the gala grand opening of the new location of the Nordic Museum in the heart of Ballard. At the Friday night gala, there was room for about 350 people in the main hall, but apparently, about 600 people showed up. The royal families of different Scandinavian nations were there, as well as the president of Iceland.
As the overflow crowd had to go into an adjacent facility at Pacific Fishermen, a big maritime business on Salmon Bay, the $100,000 donors were invited to the shipyard. One of the people in that group was Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. I’m not sure if he donated that much money, or if he was invited because the City of Seattle bought some of the land that the Nordic Museum sits on.
What I’m told by management at Pacific Fishermen is that they saw Mike O’Brien there and became angry. He is part of an effort to limit access to Pacific Fishermen’s business with a street closure and tri-sect the property by converting an alley to a major truck route. It’s going to have a major negative impact on their business. As management of a private company, they had the right to say that they did not want this man, who is working against their business, on their property. They told Mike O’Brien to leave.
We cannot confirm that Mike O’Brien was drunk, however, several witnesses saw him spill his drink as he was escorted out. And then, as Mike O’Brien’s wife was being escorted out, she loudly yelled, “F— the fishermen!” While not confirmed by his wife, three different sources have reported this. How classy if, at a fisherman maritime business, she screamed this.
We have done everything to get Mike O’Brien’s side of the story, but have received no response. O’Brien, for whatever reason, is refusing to tell his side of the story. What this comes down to is that O’Brien and his cronies have this vision that Ballard will eventually become bicycle-only, like Davis, California. They want to get rid of blue-collar, maritime businesses and line the waterfront with condos. And the businesses believe that O’Brien has a plan that would have a deleterious effect on them.
Those maritime jobs are an area where blue-collar people can still make a decent living right out of high school. But the city is working with developers to get rid of the maritime businesses and put in hotels, apartments, and condos. They are going to get rid of everything that Old Ballard consists of, and create a community in their image. Their image is a bunch of Yuppie bike riders who ride their bikes to Amazon and Expedia and make six figures in the tech industry. The 100-year-old maritime, bedrock businesses will be gone, and the middle class will be forced out.