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First there was Craigslist. Then more specialized websites arrived to make it easier to rent out your spare bedroom, vacation home, or even your car.

Now, a new category catching on the Northwest allows drivers to reserve a parking spot in someone else's driveway.

sonicsarena.com

A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

Washington state’s biggest private company is heading to mediation today with workers in Seattle, Issaquah and Tukwila. The negotiations between Darigold and its workers have gotten tense, and some staged an informational picket last week. 

Darigold’s butter and other dairy products are familiar to many shoppers in this area. It is a cooperative of more than 500 dairy farmers in the Pacific Northwest. In fiscal 2012, Darigold took in almost $2.5 billion in revenue.

Photo courtesy of the designer.

A group of local businesspeople wants to turn Renton into a fashion manufacturing hub.

The Seattle area has the fourth highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S. behind New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It also has a long history in retail, what with Filson, Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer based here, just to name a few. 

What's seriously missing, though, is a concentrated supply chain. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

After a legal tug-of-war, supporters of a $15 per hour minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac have gotten their initiative on the November ballot.

Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and an airport restaurant owner had challenged the validity of some of the petition signatures, but a panel of appeals judges ruled that those signatures should be counted and the measure will head to the voters.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The long-awaited redevelopment of Seattle’s oldest public housing complex is finally underway. 

The Seattle Housing Authority had hoped to break ground on Yesler Terrace months ago, but tighter scrutiny by funders in this post-recession world delayed the project, says Seattle Housing Authority's Director of Development Stephanie Van Dyke. 

The city, the federal government, and J.P. Morgan Chase are funding the project. 

"Everyone really is doing, I would say, extra, extra due diligence on financing," Van Dyke said. 

Jonathan Cooper

It appears the going is good for the working man in the Puget Sound area. 

The Seattle metro area saw the most new jobs last month, and the second largest wage growth in recent years in spite of the financial crisis, according to new reports.

Lehtikuva, Mikko Stig / AP Photo

Microsoft’s plan to buy Nokia’s cellphone business shows the company is serious about competing in the smartphone world. But developers of smartphone apps say Microsoft should focus on getting businesses to buy Windows Phones for their employees.

Microsoft says it is buying Nokia's devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market.

Tom Banse

A startup company based in Vancouver, Washington is looking to upend the sewage treatment business.

There are literally dozens of small Northwest cities wringing their hands, trying to figure out how to add treatment capacity for growth, or simply update aging and failing infrastructure. This startup, named Blue Array, proposes to give interested cities and their ratepayers a treatment system for free with a service contract.

Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region are stepping up pressure on their employers as they try to reach a contract deal. They’re staging informational pickets everywhere from Bremerton to Seattle, to Lynnwood this afternoon to get their message out to customers. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

It’s been the go-to music store in Seattle since the 1870s. But Sherman Clay is packing up its grand pianos and shutting down its iconic downtown store on Fourth Avenue.

In the 1980s, anyone in search of a used or new Steinway grand piano could turn to the  Seattle store as well as some 60 other Sherman Clay stores around the country. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

For the second time this month, about 200 berry pickers at a Skagit Valley farm have walked off the job.

The workers are striking over pay for the boxes of blueberries and strawberries they harvest at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington. Many of those berries are sold to Haagen-Dazs for ice cream. The workers in question have been earning $3.50 per a flat of blueberries, which is about 12 pints. They say they can’t pick them fast enough to earn a fair 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.

Jason Howie

Microsoft sales and profit rose less than analysts expected in the most recent quarter as the company continues to struggle with slow adoption of its latest operating system.

Microsoft launched Windows 8 last year, but it was a radical makeover and sales have been disappointing. The company also rolled out its own tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad but that hasn’t sold well and Microsoft wrote off almost a billion dollars in the recent quarter related to tablet inventory. 

Mike Groll / Associated Press

Washington state’s economy is recovering, but a growing percentage of workers can only find part-time jobs, and that is shutting many of them out of employer-based health insurance.

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air Group is trying to quash a ballot initiative in the city of SeaTac that would hike wages for airport ground crew and other workers. 

The initiative would set a $15 per-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac—people at the airport like baggage handlers and folks who push wheelchairs, as well as hotel workers and employees at rental car companies.

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