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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Watershed
5:00 am
Wed August 28, 2013

While Dr. King Dreamed, Seattleites Marched for Housing

A June 1963 march in Seattle against racial discrimination
seattlepi.com

Fifty years ago today, a quarter-million people gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But the summer of 1963 marked a critical point in Seattle history as well, as young activists staged the city’s first sit-ins of the civil rights movement.

The issue that galvanized them was housing discrimination. And in a place that likes to think of itself as progressive, segregation was rampant. 

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guns & businesses
12:38 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Advocates of Tougher Gun Laws Call for Starbucks Boycott

Advocates of stricter gun laws are targeting Starbucks over its policy to allow customers to openly carry firearms, where it's legal.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

A group urging more restrictive gun laws is calling for a national boycott of Starbucks Saturday. The group is upset over Starbucks’ policy of letting customers bring firearms into stores in states that allow it. 

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Microsoft
8:03 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Resign within 12 Months

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who succeeded founder Bill Gates as CEO, will retire within the next 12 months. The world's biggest software company did not name a successor, but one long-time Microsoft watcher says he expects the company to hire its next chief from within.

Microsoft Corp.'s stock rose more than 7 percent after the news. 

Just last month, Ballmer reorganized the company to emphasize hardware devices and services, rather than just software.

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Business
5:21 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Ports of Seattle and Tacoma Invest for Growth—But Will it Come?

FILE - The heavy lift ship Zhenhua 23 delivers three 267-foot tall cranes to a Port of Seattle terminal Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
Chris Grygiel Associated Press

Container volume is down more than 8 percent at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma in July, most likely a reflection of the weak economy. But the ports also face longer-term challenges.

Competition from Canadian ports is fierce. Then there’s the widening of the Panama Canal, set to be done in 2015, which some people say could divert ships away from the Pacific Northwest. And then there’s the Chinese economy to think about.

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Business
5:07 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Analyst Says Amazon Prices No Longer the Cheapest

AP Photo

Seattle’s online retail giant Amazon has built its reputation on low prices. But now an analyst says Amazon is no longer the thriftiest retailer out there. 

Amazon offers more stuff than most big-box retailers, but if you want a food processor or a knife set, Bed Bath & Beyond is now cheaper, according to a new report by Anthony Chukumba, an analyst with BB&T Capital Markets.

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Business
5:05 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Labor Dispute Halts Some Work on Seattle's Tunnel Project

Longshoremen picket at the site of Seattle's deep-bore tunnel project
Ashley Gross KPLU

Seattle's waterfront tunnel project is huge. At its height, it's supposed to create almost 3,900 jobs. In a move that shows how important each one of those jobs is, longshoremen headed out to a picket line to protect four of them. 

And that labor dispute over those four jobs has caused some work on the project to grind to a halt. 

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Watershed
5:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Fifty Years after 1963 March in D.C., One Woman Remembers

AP Photo

Later this month marks the 50th anniversary of a watershed in American civil rights history. That’s when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his “I have a dream” speech.

Tomorrow, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists is organizing a march in Seattle to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington. For one woman who grew up in Seattle, the memory is still fresh. 

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Business
1:56 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Murray, Cantwell Want to Change Tax on Cargo Coming to U.S. Ports

Mr T in DC

Washington’s senators say they want to change the tax that applies to cargo coming into U.S. ports. They say the tax, as it stands right now, is pushing shipping companies to divert containers to Canada and Mexico. 

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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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