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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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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Business
4:22 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Garbage and recycling pickup disrupted by strike

Waste Management recycling drivers say there are a number of things they want the company to change
Ashley Gross KPLU

For many people in King and Snohomish counties, garbage and recycling are not getting picked up because of a strike that began Wednesday. Recycling drivers walked off the job over what they say are unfair labor practices by the company, Waste Management. Garbage haulers also stopped work today in solidarity.

Waste Management says about 220,000 households face disruptions if the strike continues. Parts of northern and central Seattle are not affected because another company, Cleanscapes, hauls garbage there.

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Business
5:00 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Why Amazon might make a smartphone

Neerav Bhatt

There’s been growing speculation lately that Amazon has a smartphone in the works. But why?

It’s a crowded market out there in smartphone land. There’s a whole bunch of phones based on Google’s Android software, there’s the Microsoft Windows phone, and of course, Apple’s iPhone.

Also, a small sampling of people on a downtown Seattle street didn't show a whole lot of interest in an Amazon phone.

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Business
4:47 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

New program turns foreclosed homes into affordable housing

A foreclosed home in the South Beacon Hill neighborhood that Homestead plans to rehab
Ashley Gross KPLU

Home prices have dropped almost 30 percent from their peak in Seattle, but there are still a lot of people who can’t afford to buy a home in the city. Now, a new program is tackling that problem by converting foreclosed homes into affordable housing.

Under the program, you could buy a house for $85,000 less than what it’s worth - if you make below a certain income threshold.

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Business
5:00 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Ditch that memo, it's time to race tricycles! Office Olympics catch on

Troy Brockway throws a slingshot in Guidant Financial's office Olympics
Andy Karnopp Guidant Financial

The summer Olympics kick off in London on July 27th. But while the world’s best swimmers and sprinters get ready, office workers here are not to be outdone. They’re going for the gold in the name of that corporate buzzword – team-building.

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Business and labor
2:02 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Taxis threaten to stop Sea-Tac Airport service over town cars

Taxi drivers are up in arms over town cars, but the Port of Seattle says it doesn't know of any violations by town car operators.
Thomas Hawk Flickr

Claiming town cars are breaking the rules, Seattle taxi drivers are threatening to stop taking passengers to Sea-Tac Airport.

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Business
8:43 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Cities near Seattle may lose tax revenue if arena gets built

The Sonics playing the Pistons at KeyArena in 2007
Mike Kelley

A new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle could steal tax dollars from neighboring communities. That’s according to the analysis of University of Washington geography professor Bill Beyers, who has spent a lot of time studying the economic impact of professional sports.

Beyers has done previous analyses about the Mariners and Seahawks, as well as KeyArena.  As part of an expert panel, Beyers presented his initial thoughts on the proposed NBA and NHL arena to the King County Council.

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Business
4:10 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Boeing wins big 737MAX order from United

Boeing had a triumphant announcement today - a big order from United Continental for its 737 narrow-body airplanes, which are made in Renton. United is buying 150 737s, Boeing's popular single-aisle jet. Two-thirds of those planes will be the newest version – the 737MAX, which Boeing announced last August.

Boeing was rushing to catch up with its rival Airbus, which had already announced hundreds of orders for its new narrow-body plane, the A320neo. Randy Tinseth is a vice president of marketing for Boeing.

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Business
8:29 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Can Seattle's population support six major sports teams?

Seattle's SoDo neighborhood would be the site of a new basketball and hockey arena if the proposal goes through
camknows

Battle lines are being drawn between people who want a new basketball and hockey arena in Seattle and people who don’t. A town hall meeting at North Seattle Community College at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 10th, will give people a chance to speak out on the proposal. 

One issue likely to come up is whether the city is even big enough to support six professional sports teams.  The plan would add an NBA team and possibly an NHL team to the city's pro sports landscape of Seahawks, Mariners, Storm and Sounders. 

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Business
9:06 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Amazon.com helps sponsor Lake Union fireworks, blunting criticism

sea turtle

Amazon.com says it’s helping sponsor the fireworks display at Seattle’s Lake Union. It’s a first for the company, which drew criticism in a Seattle Times article for a lack of philanthropy around the city.

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Business
3:17 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Boeing expects Asian demand to propel growth

clidstrom

Boeing says the world will need 34,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, mostly driven by increasing demand from Asia.

Boeing has to plan 20 years down the line in an industry where designing and building a plane can take almost a decade. The company says it expects airlines will want even more single-aisle airplanes, like its 737s, which are made in Renton.

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