South Tacoma community takes fight against mega warehouse to Bridge Industrial office
Bellevue, WA – On Friday, January 19, a crowd of about 30 people rallied near the Bridge Industrial office in Bellevue to protest the construction of a mega warehouse complex in South Tacoma.
“Bridge Industrial, corrupt and rude! We don’t like your attitude!” and “If you pollute our neighborhoods, we’ll make sure you’re gone for good!” chants echoed through the glossy skyscrapers that surround the company’s office.
Catelynn Henion from Climate Alliance of the South Sound explained the situation saying, “Bridge Industrial is willing to pave over our wetlands, pollute our neighborhoods, and profit off of the city’s dismissal of South Tacoma.”
Members of Climate Alliance of the South Sound, The Conversation 253, 350Tacoma, Black Panther Party of WA, Issaquah Student League, and many other South Sound communities oppose this project due to its racist and destructive nature.
If completed, this mega warehouse complex would pave over 125 acres of park-like green space in a historically red-lined neighborhood, bringing pollution and traffic, and ultimately lower life expectancies in its wake.
After several speeches, the crowd drummed, chanted and marched to the office building and entered the lobby. The chant “Global warming is war, of the rich upon the poor” rang throughout the entire floor as they entered building.
Once inside, another speaker warned about the horrible health impacts of diesel fuel fumes and other air pollutants – pollutants that would be brought with the 10,000-plus additional vehicle trips caused by the mega warehouse if constructed.
The energetic crowd then moved directly to the Bridge Industrial office, located on the second floor, to demand BI cancel the project. However, no one was in the office. Sources on site said it was because BI had learned about this action and canceled their workday.
Talison Crosby from Climate Alliance of the South Sound spoke about the Bridge Industrial office closure, saying, “Our action cost them an entire day of work. That impacts their bottom line – it costs them money. They haven’t listened to our concerns, so we’re making them listen by speaking in the only language they understand – profit.”
Bellevue police arrived at the scene almost as soon as the protesters entered the building, then issued a dispersal order so the crowd moved back outside the building. There, more speakers shared the importance of fighting racist projects like this, and building towards the future they want and deserve.
Bunchy Carter of the Black Panther Party of Washington said, “The reality is, environmental destruction is imperialistic at its core. The resources, and control of them, mean more than the lives of the masses of poor and oppressed people. We demand the cease of planning the construction of these mega warehouses and an immediate redirection of those funds to empower the communities you are attempting to displace.”
The event was closed out by singing, drumming and chanting “We will not let this warehouse pass, Power to the working class!”
As of today, Bridge Industrial has not begun construction, though the city has approved the permits that will allow them to begin building.
Henion shared her feelings surrounding the future of this fight, stating, “Bridge Industrial is terrified when confronted by those it will impact because they know that there is power in people. As long as this warehouse remains a possibility people will stand up and fight it as they have always done in the face of injustice.”