Seattle Times: Audit finds NOAA botched decision to move to Oregon

Our news partner, the Seattle Times, reports that a new federal audit finds that NOAA didn’t consider using cheaper, existing federal facilities in Seattle rather than move to Newport, Oregon.

NOAA announced last summer that it would leave its long-time base on Lake Union in Eastlake and relocate to Newport. Despite appeals by Bellingham, which also tried to win the base, and Washington elected officials, NOAA has insisted the move was the best decision for the agency.

The new audit comes from the Commerce Department’s Inspector General. NOAA is part of the Commerce Department, which is headed by former Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

The Times story says of this new audit:

The report also takes NOAA to task for failing to analyze the total, long-term cost of moving the ships to Newport, which lacks major maritime facilities and is more than 200 miles from the Seattle-based researchers who commonly use the vessels.

The Times’ story says it’s unclear if the auditor’s report will cause NOAA to reassess it’s move. The Newport base is already under construction.

Read more of the Times’ story here.