A nationally competitive convention center in Seattle
The Convention Center Task Force was formed in 1978 to plan and promote the development of a nationally competitive convention center in Seattle. After legislative approval for the center's construction was secured in 1982, the Chamber created a statewide task force which played a key role in the selection of a downtown freeway site.
Pacific Rim Trade Activity
In August 1976, the Chamber assumed the lead in organizing the Japan-American Conference of Mayors and Chambers of Commerce Presidents, a four-day meeting held in Seattle. The conference attracted 300 government and business leaders from 16 U.S. cities and from Japan's 22 major cities. The theme was "The Partnership of Business and Government in Providing for Urban Prosperity."
The Chamber was also instrumental in establishing the Washington State Committee for China Trade, a statewide organization designed to coordinate commercial projects with the People's Republic of China. Through participation in this organization, 20 business leaders from Seattle and Washington state took part in a two-week trade mission to the People's Republic of China. After that, the committee actively solicited reciprocal trade missions in Seattle.
Expediting completion of I-90
In 1978, the Chamber formed the I-90 Task Force to resolve legal issues and expedite construction of an expanded I-90 freeway. This task force worked with Pacific Legal Foundation to coordinate a 'friend of the court' brief to represent businessmen, citizens, and labor leaders in preparation for the June I-90 trial. The Chamber also assisted the state in preparation for the trial in meetings with the State Attorney General's Office.
By 1979, the task force had effectively ensured that legal constraints regarding construction were removed, and was active in triggering the release of the I-90 corridor relocation assistance plan. However, after Initiative 20, the anti-I-90 ballot measure, the Chamber realized I-90 would continue to be a difficult battle and formed the Committee for Balanced Regional Transportation.
Business Assistance to Education
The 1970s closed with the Chamber's formation of the Private Initiatives in Public Education (PIPE). This organization worked to increase involvement and support to public and private education at all levels. In 1995, PIPE merged with the Seattle Alliance for Education and the Seattle Schools' Fund for Excellence to form the Alliance for Education. Since then, the Alliance for Education has helped raise more than $100 million for Seattle Public Schools.
Sources: Seattle Business Special Edition: Seattle Chamber Celebrates 100 Years; Seattle Business; Chamber Annual Reports for 1978-79 and 1979-80.