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."

Pages

Business
5:00 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Should Seattle require all landlords to register rental units?

The city of Seattle wants to crack down on problem rental buildings by requiring landlords to register and get inspections of their units. Tenants’ advocates say they’re hopeful the new system will mean fewer people living in unhealthy or dangerous housing.

Jonathan Grant runs the non-profit group Tenants Union of Washington State. He says he hears from tenants all the time about the poor conditions of their apartments.

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NBA Arena
7:51 am
Tue September 11, 2012

New NBA arena deal struck with city of Seattle; council vote still to come

Chris Hansen, the lead investor in the attempted to build a new NBA arena in Seattle, apparently has his deal.
KPLU

Seattle has a new deal for a sports arena to house NBA and NHL teams. If the full council approves the agreement later this month, lead private investor Chris Hansen will then face the possibly tougher job of getting a deal for the teams.

The revised deal has been officially announced by members of the Seattle City Council and addresses concerns by the Port of Seattle and others that traffic generated by events there would clog up the SoDo area.

Seattle councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien made the announcement.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Microsoft urges immigration reform to fill high-skilled jobs

Robert Scoble Flickr

Overall, job growth remains disappointingly slow – the unemployment rate remains stuck above 8 percent. In computer-related fields, though, jobs are going unfilled.

Unemployment in computer and math jobs is a measly 3.4 percent. Companies like Microsoft and Expedia say one remedy is immigration reform, and they’re hopeful Congress will pass a new act to break the logjam.

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Housing
7:35 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Poor economy leaves more people in Seattle struggling to find housing

Diane Rivers has been homeless off and on since she was pregnant with her now three-year-old daughter, Christina
Ashley Gross KPLU

Seattle’s oldest public housing project, Yesler Terrace, is headed for a massive redevelopment, and that means years of upheaval for its 1,200 residents. At least they’re guaranteed some kind of housing. Others are not so lucky. The poor economy has made a chronic shortage of subsidized housing in Seattle even worse.

Diane Rivers is one of the people who's been trying for years to find a permanent home that she can afford.

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Business
4:00 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Yesler Terrace approved; How well do Seattle's mixed-income communities work?

John Harrison and Helen Biersack are homeowners who moved into the mixed-income community of High Point in West Seattle in April
Ashley Gross KPLU

Update: The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.

“By building a mixed-use community at Yesler Terrace we can improve the quality of life for very low income families and create new affordable housing opportunities,” said Mayor Mike McGinn in a press release. 

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contract negotiations
2:35 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Boeing engineers file labor complaint; talks off to a rough start

A spokesman says Boeing is asking employees to shoulder a bigger portion of health care costs, as expenses rise, in order for the company to stay competitive.
Andrew W. Sieber Flickr

The union representing Boeing engineers and technicians has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the company, charging that Boeing is trying to muzzle its union members as contract negotiations heat up.

The complaint filed yesterday with the National Labor Relations Board in Seattle says Boeing has threatened union members with discipline if they speak to each other about wages, hours and working conditions.

Boeing spokesman Tim Healy said the company hadn't yet seen the complaint, but he disputed the union's claim, saying no one from Boeing told employees not to discuss working conditions or wages with each other.

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election 2012
11:41 am
Tue August 21, 2012

More 'red' books (conservative) bought than 'blue,' Amazon reports

Screen grab from Amazon's page showing the sales of "red" books verses the sale of "blue" books.

Based on book sales, Republicans are dominating Democrats in most of the country (including Washington state), according to a new “election heat map” created by book retailer Amazon.com.

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Business
9:12 am
Tue August 21, 2012

New Export-Import Bank office in Seattle targets small businesses

Mastering the export business can be tough – especially for a small company. Now there’s a new push to help local entrepreneurs sell more stuff overseas.

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Your Money
12:15 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Worth the deal? Groceries get a personalized price

A customer using Safeway's personalized deals gets this loaf of bread for 99 cents instead of the original $4.29.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 3:56 pm

Loyalty cards have long given discounts to shoppers who sign up, but stores are increasingly offering personalized discounts tailored to each customer's shopping patterns.

Those tailored discounts mean someone standing in front of you at the supermarket checkout line might get a lower price on the exact same gallon of milk that you're buying.

A 'Secret Deal'

Heather Kulper is one of those people who really wants to get a good deal. She's a mom in a suburb north of Seattle who writes a blog about coupon clipping and saving money.

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Business
8:47 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Abandoned rail line may become an Eastside bike trail

Bicyclists hope that a new bike trail like the Burke-Gilman Trail (pictured) will be created along the old rail line from Renton to Woodinville
kingcountyparks

The dream of a bike trail stretching from Renton to Woodinville has moved one step closer to a reality. The Port of Seattle commission today voted to approve a $15 million sale of former rail land to King County.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Puget Sound economy bouncing back faster than the U.S.

There have been a few glimmers of hope lately for the U.S. economy, such as a better-than-expected jobs report. But local economist Dick Conway  says there’s even more reason for optimism for the Puget Sound region. 

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Business
8:42 am
Wed August 8, 2012

New mini-city to rise on site of Yesler Terrace housing project?

Rowhouses like these at the Yesler Terrace public housing project are slated to be torn down and replaced with a much bigger mixed-income development
Ashley Gross KPLU

Big changes are likely in store for Seattle’s oldest public housing project. A total overhaul of Yesler Terrace, just up the hill from downtown, will create a mini-city of high-rise apartments and an office tower. The Seattle city council on Wednesday is holding its last public hearing on the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. 

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Author interview
5:00 am
Mon August 6, 2012

5 things great bosses know

What does it take to become the world's best boss? One thing it takes is knowing your evil twin.
Kumar Appaiah Flickr

Jill Geisler became a TV news director at the age of 27. She didn't know a whole lot about managing people, and she had to learn by trial and error. Now, Geisler is a leadership trainer with a new book out on how to inspire and motivate staff. It's called “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know.”

In her interview with KPLU, Geisler put forth five strategies for becoming a better boss:

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Garbage haulers strike
10:59 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Trash trucks rolling in Seattle; drivers approve contract

A Waste Management truck near Alki Beach in West Seattle
GAbriel Spitzer KPLU

Teamsters who drive yard waste and recycling trucks for Waste Management in the Seattle-Everett area of Washington have voted to accept a new contract.

Thursday's vote ends a strike that disrupted garbage pickups for more than a week.

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NBA Arena
5:35 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

King County approves arena deal; Seattle council expresses doubts

Supporters of the new NBA arena proposal at the King County Council meeting in which the council is scheduled to vote on the proposal.
Ashley Gross KPLU

The King County Council approved an agreement with the investors who want to build an NBA arena in the SoDo district of Seattle. The council voted 6-3 to ratify the "memorandum of understanding" and "interlocal agreement," documents which define the terms of the arena deal.

"There is intrinsic value in this arena," said county councilmember Julia Patterson. She added that she had voted against Seattle's other sports arenas in the past, when she was in the Washington State Legislature, but voted yes on this deal.

In opposition, councilman Pete von Reichbauer said transportation issues had not been resolved. 

"If you build it, they will come – they can't come if they're stuck in traffic," he said.

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