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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Social responsibility
4:49 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Seattle to Require its Bank to be Socially Responsible

Ted S. Warren Associated Press

The Occupy Wall Street movement has faded from the news, but the Seattle City Council invoked its memory Monday with the passing of a banking ordinance. 

The city council wants the bank where it deposits money to reinvest back into the community. 

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south lake union development
5:00 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Center for Wooden Boats Expands in Bustling South Lake Union

A rendering of the Center for Wooden Boats' new education center
Center for Wooden Boats

Another new building is coming to South Lake Union, but this one will not be a workspace for Amazon techies—unless, that is, they like to build wooden boats.

The Center for Wooden Boats plans to start constructing its new education center in Lake Union Park this winter.  

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Tourist in Your Own Town
5:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Flowers, Fish—and Phantoms? The Ghost Tour at Pike Place Market

Aaron Hushagen KPLU

Ten million people visit Pike Place Market every year, and that doesn’t even count the spirits haunting the place. There are ample legends, of course, and those ghost stories offer a window into Seattle’s history.

Even if you think all that ghost stuff is just bunk, the cool thing about the Market Ghost Tour is that it lets you see beyond the flowers and souvenir Space Needle magnets. It helps you imagine all the people who have worked and lived at the market since it was created in 1907.

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Seattle Mayoral Race 2013
4:40 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Round Two Begins in Seattle Mayoral Election Money Race

401(K) 2012

Now that the Seattle mayoral race has been narrowed down, Ed Murray and Mike McGinn will begin their next wave of fundraising, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting money race.

State Sen. Ed Murray won the primary and has so far won the race for campaign dollars. According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, Murray’s raised about $140,000 more than McGinn. And as of the most recent filings, Murray still had five times as much money in his coffers than the mayor.

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the fourth estate
1:40 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Amazon CEO Bezos to Buy Washington Post for $250 Million

Reed Saxon Associated Press

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post and other newspapers for $250 million.

The longtime publisher, The Washington Post Co., announced the deal Monday. Bezos is buying the paper as an individual. Amazon.com Inc. is not involved.

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waterfront development
5:00 am
Mon August 5, 2013

New Building, Promenade Planned for Pike Place Market

What the new promenade might look like
Miller Hull Partnership

The city of Seattle and Pike Place Market are planning a new building and walkway that will snake down to the waterfront. They’re hoping to begin construction as soon as next summer and have it done before the viaduct comes down.

Right now, if you’re down at the Ferris wheel and you want to get up to Pike Place Market, you have to find the elevator or go up a long set of stairs. It’s confusing.

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real estate
4:47 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Seattle Home Prices Post Highest Monthly Jump Since April 1990

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Home prices in the Seattle metro area in May showed their biggest monthly gain in more than 20 years, as a tight supply of homes and low interest rates drive values higher.

Until recently, interest rates were at record lows, and that’s been spurring people to jump back into the housing market after the 2008 crash. Home prices in the Seattle metro area climbed more than 3 percent in May compared with April. That’s according to the Standard and Poor’s Case Shiller Home Price Index. 

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Seattle Mayoral Race 2013
8:11 am
Tue July 30, 2013

A Leading Question: Joey Gray and the Lessons of Sport

Ashley Gross KPLU

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Joey Gray doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as the ultimate Frisbee candidate. But she honed a lot of her leadership skills throwing a disc, and later leading the sport nationally as executive director of USA Ultimate.

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Boeing Dreamliner
3:06 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Boeing Reassigns Chief Project Engineer for 787 Dreamliner

The 787 Dreamliner assembly line in Everett
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing’s chief project engineer for the 787 Dreamliner, Mike Sinnett, has been reassigned to a new job. Sinnett shepherded the Dreamliner through the battery crisis earlier this year.

He will become a vice president of product development, in charge of preliminary airplane design. He will also head research and development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 

Bob Whittington is shifting from his current position as chief project engineer of the 777 to replace Sinnett on the 787. Larry Schneider will replace Whittington on the 777 program.

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Politics
5:00 am
Fri July 26, 2013

A Leading Question: Ed Murray's Approach to Winning Gay Rights

Ashley Gross KPLU

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.

Ed Murray’s Capitol Hill office is on the same block as the Gay City LGBT library. Inside hangs a sign that says "March with Ed in Pride."

Murray wants to be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor. So maybe it won’t surprise you that many of his leadership moments have to do with securing gay and lesbian rights after many setbacks. Take 2005, for example.

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Business
3:50 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Amazon.com Posts 2Q Loss, Higher Revenue

FILE
Ross D. Franklin Associated Press

Amazon.com is reporting a loss in the second quarter as higher revenue was not enough to make up for rising operating expenses.

Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday that its loss was $7 million, or 2 cents per share, in the April-June quarter. That's down from earnings of $7 million, or 1 cent per share, a year ago.

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Starbucks earnings
2:45 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Starbucks Shows Boost in Sales, Strong Earnings

FILE
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Starbucks has been branching out beyond coffee into pastries, yogurt, and juices. And it appears to be paying off.

Sales in the quarter that ended last month climbed 13 percent, and profit jumped 25 percent. 

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Boeing
12:57 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Boeing Raises Profit Outlook, Says It Will Keep Cutting Costs

Boeing's 787 production line in Everett
Ashley Gross KPLU

Boeing raised its earnings and revenue forecasts for this year, reflecting strong demand in both the commercial airplane and defense businesses. But company executives say they plan to continue cutting costs. 

Boeing has announced a series of layoffs in Washington state this year, and its local headcount has shrunk by more than a thousand since the end of January. CEO Jim McNerney says the company is operating in a “more-for-less world,” and that’s what’s driving the focus on reducing costs.

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immigration
5:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Sheriff Urges King Co. to Honor Fewer Immigration Detainers

King County’s sheriff says he’s concerned that people in immigrant communities are afraid to call the police for fear of getting deported. That’s why he’s supporting a measure to limit the county’s cooperation with federal detention requests. 

The main way that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, finds people who are here illegally is through the criminal justice system. Local jails are now required to turn over fingerprint data to the FBI, which shares it with ICE. 

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Business
7:41 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Seatac Businesses, Unions Stage Showdown over Minimum Wage

Powerful business interests and unions are staging a showdown in the small town of SeaTac. Tuesday night, the SeaTac City Council is supposed to vote on whether to put a living wage initiative on the November ballot.  

Airport workers affiliated with unions like the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters collected signatures to put the measure on the ballot. It would set a minimum wage of $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers including people like baggage handlers at the airport.

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