The bidding process for public land in the Seattle Center, where some want to build a private Chihuly glass museum, could be stalled by Seattle City Council Member Sally Bagshaw, who has "serious concerns" with how the Seattle Center is wording the criteria on which proposals will be evaluated.
Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust says that the criteria has cleared the city's law and budget offices, and is now in the hands of Bagshaw, who is chair of the council's Parks and Seattle Center committee. "We're waiting on Sally," Daoust explains.
Copies of the draft haven't been released, but according to her staff, Bagshaw is concerned that the criteria "strictly favors" proposals that generate the most revenue—i.e., the Chihuly museum—over proposals that engage the public. The Seattle Center doesn't need Bagshaw's approval to move forward, however, ignoring her concerns would be further indication that the Seattle Center was setting the criteria to favor its pet project, the Chihuly museum. Bagshaw's office met with Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams to discuss the bidding process yesterday afternoon.
"She sent Nellams packing with work to be done," says one of Bagshaw's staffers.
For the past several weeks, the Seattle Center has been drafting criteria to open up the Fun Forest site to public bids. This public process is called a request for proposals, meaning that anyone who has a proposal for how to best utilize the site could have their idea considered.
Sources report that the Seattle Center was counting on getting Bagshaw's approval on the criteria this week, in order to begin the bidding process early next week. It's now unclear whether this will happen.