Ashley Gross

Business and Labor Reporter

Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from Amazon.com and Boeing to garbage strikes. She joined the station in May 2012 after working for five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

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Law
3:05 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Seattle boosts police presence at Rock & Roll Marathon

Jill Weaver and Patty Gutierrez finished the 2011 Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon
JBLM PAO

Seattle is stepping up its police presence for tomorrow’s Rock and Roll Marathon in the wake of the Boston bombings two months ago. Twenty-thousand runners are expected along a course that snakes through downtown, south along Lake Washington and over to Mercer Island and back.

Renee Witt is a Seattle Police Department detective. She says there will be bomb-sniffing dogs and police on bicycles. And the police department requests that spectators take certain precautions.

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Business
3:47 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Will Airbus build an engineering center in Washington state?

Laurent Jegou

Airbus is reportedly considering expanding its presence in Washington state. Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says, if it happens, that kind of investment here by Boeing’s archrival would help the state solidify its status as an aerospace mecca.

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Aerospace
3:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Wash. state courts Airbus, other European companies at air show

A ground controller is seen next of a Rolls Royce engine of a British Airways Airbus A380 during the first day of the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, Monday, June 17, 2013.
Francois Mori Associated Press

Washington’s delegation to the Paris Air Show is trying to persuade more European aerospace companies to do business here. They're finding that European companies are receptive, in part because they want to do business in dollars.

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Business
3:17 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

King County launches web site for electronic property tax appeals

  People who are anxious about the possibility of their property taxes going up have a new resource to turn to. King County just launched a web site to allow homeowners to appeal their property valuations electronically. They can use the site to look up comparable sales and submit that information along with the appeal.

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Business
5:00 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Washington aerospace companies celebrate Airbus test flight (quietly)

The Airbus A350 takes off sucesfully on its maiden flight.
Bob Edme The Associated Press

Each maiden voyage of a Boeing airplane has been cause for much celebration in Washington state. But now there’s a big chunk of the local aerospace industry that also supplies Boeing’s main rival, Airbus. So when a new Airbus plane takes to the skies – like the A350 earlier today – a large contingent of workers here in Boeing’s backyard watches with pride.

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Politics
4:15 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Auditor: Record-keeping at Seattle Center parking garages is lax

The state auditor says the Seattle Center hasn't done a good job of making sure people pay at three city-owned parking garages. 

The three garages took in almost $5 million in revenue last year that went into the Seattle Center budget. State auditor Troy Kelley says he doesn’t have an estimate of how much money the Center may have lost out on, but he says his team found a lot of problems with record-keeping at the garages – one on Fifth Avenue North, one on Mercer Street and one on First Avenue North. 

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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Are fees eating away at your 401(k) retirement account?

Tax Credits

In the wake of the recession, many people are trying to rebuild their retirement accounts. That can be tough if investment companies charge high fees. A recent "Frontline" special called the Retirement Gamble investigated how fees can eat away at people’s savings.

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Business
1:26 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Alaska Air reaches tentative deal with its pilots

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air has reached a tentative five-year contract with its nearly 1,500 pilots. It’s a bright note in an industry known for testy labor relations.

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Business
3:18 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Amazon adds Dora the Explorer, other kids' shows with Viacom deal

Alan Alfaro

Amazon has signed a deal with Viacom for online rights to hundreds of TV shows. But the most important shows are ones geared toward kids.

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Cafe Racer Anniversary
5:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Cafe Racer gunman's father : I 'should’ve kept coming back at it'

Walter Stawicki, center, talks with gun owners Brian Barnes, left, Rob Stratton, middle, and Eric Diesch, right, before the "StandUP Washington" rally and march Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

For Walt Stawicki, the past year has been one of grieving and what-ifs. Exactly one year ago, his 40-year-old son Ian Stawicki, killed himself in West Seattle after fatally shooting five people, including four at Café Racer.

Stawicki is pleased the Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit someone involuntarily for psychiatric care. He says he and his wife struggled to find the right care for their son, especially after they took a trip and noticed their son had deteriorated.  

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paid sick-leave
5:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Tacoma group pushes paid sick leave ordinance

pixieclipx Flickr

A group in Tacoma is starting a campaign to get a paid sick leave ordinance passed. The supporters are taking a cue from the city of Seattle, which last year began mandating that businesses offer paid time off for illnesses. 

Healthy Tacoma is a coalition of nonprofits, labor unions, and religious groups pushing to get the sick-leave ordinance passed. They say about 40,000 workers in Tacoma can’t take a paid day off work when they or a family member is sick. Many of those people work in food service, increasing the chance that they’ll spread the illness to others. 

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Business
2:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Amazon shareholders tell Bezos: Enough with the violent products

Associated Press

Once a year, Amazon shareholders have a chance to ask billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos anything they wish. At this year’s annual meeting, a number of them urged Bezos to stop selling brutal video games and other products that glorify violence. 

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Alaska Air labor issues
6:04 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Workers stage protest at Alaska Air shareholders meeting

Alaska Air workers are seen protesting outside the annual shareholders meeting.

 (Editor's note May 23, 2013: Corrects to clarify that baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and other airport workers have signed cards to join unions but have not been recognized as unions by their employers. Until that happens, they don't have legal status as collective bargaining units.)

Dozens of protesters including flight attendants, baggage handlers, and religious leaders turned Alaska Air Group’s annual shareholders meeting into a raucous affair on Tuesday.

The protest began outside with chanting flight attendants who haven’t reached a new contract with the company after 18 months of negotiations.

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public facilities
8:01 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Seattle wants to give free-standing public toilets another go

The so-called Portland Loo is seen in this photo.
City of Portland

Five years after Seattle had to get rid of its free-standing public toilet structures, Mayor Mike McGinn wants to give it another go, this time with a new design. 

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Airport worker wage
5:01 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Sea-Tac workers aim for pay raise with ballot initiative

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac Airport are trying to get a big pay raise by way of a ballot initiative. If approved, the increase would put them 60 percent over the state’s minimum wage of $9.19 per hour.

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