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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Legalized marijuana
3:48 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Patrick Kennedy launches local marijuana education group

This photo shows former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
Jeff Meade

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, is wading into Washington state’s marijuana legalization process. He’s opening a local chapter of his group that aims to educate people about the health risks of the drug.

Kennedy has struggled in the past with addiction to alcohol and prescription painkillers. And he’s admitted using marijuana in the past before learning about the health risks of today’s more potent cannabis.

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Business
8:45 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Researchers say Seattle should better publicize sick-leave law

pixieclipx Flickr

University of Washington researchers say Seattle needs to do more to let businesses know about its paid-sick leave ordinance. They found almost half of business owners didn’t know about it as the law was taking effect last year. 

Seattle began requiring businesses with more than four employees to offer paid sick leave last Sept. 1. The city auditor hired UW researchers to conduct a survey right around that time. They found that four out of 10 employers knew nothing about it.

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Business
8:13 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Did Washington lawmakers hurt efforts to win the Boeing 777x?

Boeing's 777 assembly line in Everett
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing has sent a technical team to assist in the investigation of the Asiana Airlines 777 crash in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the company is on the brink of making major business decisions about where the newest 777 will be built. Some aerospace observers, speaking off the record, say Washington state's recent legislative session may have damaged our chances of landing the assembly here. They say lawmakers failed to show Boeing the state is serious about competing with lower-wage states like South Carolina. 

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Business
3:19 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver ports aim to reduce air pollution

Bari Bookout

The ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., are working together to dramatically reduce emissions. And they’re trying to do that without scaring away any cargo companies. 

Most of the diesel air pollution at the ports comes from ocean-going ships, but also from tug boats, cranes, trucks and trains. 

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Business
4:13 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Boeing deliveries top Airbus so far this year in spite of 787 problems

787 Dreamliner production in Everett
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing has topped Airbus in airplane deliveries so far this year in spite of the Dreamliner grounding that forced Boeing to stop delivering 787s for several months. 

The 787 grounding lasted three months, but it seems to have had little effect. Boeing kept producing new Dreamliners in Everett and in South Carolina during that time, then started handing them over to customers as soon as regulators gave the OK, with the newly-modified battery, of course.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia says it was a bold and risky move to keep the Dreamliner assembly lines humming.

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Environment
5:25 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

House Dems remove fish-consumption study from budget

jpellgen Flickr

Washington state House Democrats removed funds for a fish-consumption study from the final budget. That went against the wishes of one of the state's biggest business interests, Boeing.

The state Department of Ecology currently assumes that people in Washington eat about one meal of fish a month. But the state acknowledges the standard is out of date; many people eat a lot more fish than that.

Tribes and environmental groups have been urging the state to update its standard and require stricter regulation of water pollution. But that has been met with resistance from businesses, including Boeing.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Professors ask Boeing staff: Do you `live, eat, and breathe your job?'

787 production in Everett
Ashley Gross KPLU

A team of professors with the University of Puget Sound wants to know how happy—or unhappy—Boeing workers are. The professors are surveying the company's employees about their attitudes toward work with the goal of turning the research into a book. 

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Business
5:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

`Grey's Anatomy' actor Dempsey to complete Tully's purchase

Ronald Tan

If all goes according to plan, Tully’s will have a new celebrity owner come Monday. That’s when actor Patrick Dempsey’s investment group is set to complete its purchase of the struggling coffee chain out of bankruptcy. 

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urban housing
4:37 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Seattle City Council to weigh code changes to micro-housing

Buildings full of so-called micro-dwellings have been going up in parts of Seattle, but not without controversy. Now the Seattle City Council is getting ready to consider changes to the code to provide more oversight. 

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same-sex marriage
9:11 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Same-sex marriage rulings greeted with excitement in Washington

FILE - Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen receive the first marriage licenses issued by King County to a same-sex couple in December 2012.
Paula Wissel KPLU

Many people in Washington state are reacting with excitement to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and reinstated the right for gays and lesbians in California to marry. 

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small-town Politics
4:58 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Tiny town of Pacific back in the news spotlight with mayoral recall

Pacific Mayor Cy Sun, left, is seen signing his oath of office with Pacific City Clerk Jane Montgomery.
City of Pacific

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday in the recall election of Mayor Cy Sun in the tiny town of Pacific. It’s a story that almost sounds like a sitcom about small-town politics gone awry. 

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Business
8:22 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Facing seismic tech shift, rivals Microsoft and Oracle team up

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
Oracle PR

 (Update: Corrects to say Ellison hired investigators to comb through trash of groups sympathetic to Microsoft, not Microsoft's own trash.)

A seismic shift in technology is pushing two longtime archrivals to work together. Oracle and Microsoft are announcing a cloud-computing partnership later Monday.

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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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