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
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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Business
3:50 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

T-Mobile USA CEO Phillipp Humm resigns

Thomas Hawk

Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA says Chief Executive Phillipp Humm is leaving to join his family back in Europe. An analyst says Humm was probably tired of the parent company not investing enough in its U.S. subsidiary.

Humm was appointed CEO of T-Mobile USA less than two years ago by its parent, Deutsche Telekom. Then, a few months later, AT&T announced that it was buying T-Mobile. That deal ultimately unraveled after the federal government challenged it.

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Business
2:11 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Still mad about Chase's takeover of WaMu? You should be, author says

Kerry Lammert Flickr

J.P. Morgan Chase’s recent multi-billion dollar trading loss has knocked the bank far down the list of world’s most respected companies, according to the financial magazine Barron’s.  

That just adds to the company’s already tarnished reputation in the Northwest because of the way it took over Washington Mutual in a fire sale during the darkest days of the financial crisis in 2008. And that animosity is warranted, one expert says.

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Business
4:23 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Downtown apartment construction signals a recovery

Construction has begun on the Insignia Towers, the first condo development in downtown Seattle since 2007
Ashley Gross KPLU

The number of apartments being built in downtown Seattle has jumped almost 10-fold compared with two years ago, suggesting the city’s downtown core is in the midst of a rebound.

The first condo building to start construction in five years also recently broke ground in the city's Denny Triangle neighborhood. That's another sign that the market may be beginning to revive, after the real estate crash brought condo construction to a halt.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Washington stocks outperform the S&P 500, led by Expedia

Expedia suitcases in Florida
Shibby777

If you’ve been following the gloomy economic news, you might be surprised that lots of Washington stocks have been doing quite well this year.

Top of the pack so far this year? Expedia, the travel web site company based in Bellevue. Expedia stock has soared 66 percent so far this year.

What’s going on? Dan Su is an analyst with Morningstar who covers Expedia. She says the company has been overhauling its web sites to make them more user-friendly and to better compete with rival Priceline.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Why do so many park the wrong way in Seattle?

Mary Mitchell, a supervisor for Seattle parking enforcement, says it's illegal ... but they don't get too worked up about it.
Ashley Gross KPLU

I just moved here from Chicago, and there’s one thing that has been bugging me – the way people park.

In some ways, Seattleites seem to really follow the rules. People don’t jaywalk, for instance. So why do so many people park on the wrong side of the street?

In my neighborhood in West Seattle, near Alki Beach, cars are parked higgledy-piggledy. Nose to nose, tail to tail. The streets are really narrow, and traffic runs in both directions, so I can understand the temptation to just zip into an empty spot, no matter which side of the street it’s on.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Low interest rates: Who wins, who loses?

Preserving savings is hard for retirees with interest rates so low
Tax Credits

The interest rate on a 30-year mortgage recently dropped to a record low. That’s great news for people buying a home or refinancing. But not everyone is thrilled about low interest rates. For retirees, Bellevue financial advisor Michael Boone says low interest rates are "incredibly destructive."

Take David Lee. He's 59 years old, getting close to retirement. When he first set up his retirement plan decades ago, he says he was told he’d earn 10 percent interest and he’d have enough to buy another house when he retired. So much for that.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
4:21 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Officials break ground on Seattle's deep-bore tunnel

The excavator that will dig a hole for the world's largest-diameter tunnel boring machine
Ashley Gross KPLU

The long goodbye to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun.

With some ceremonial scoops of dirt, officials today began digging a pit for the giant machine that will chew up the earth under Seattle like a massive termite creating the deep-bore tunnel.

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