FILE – A section of land looking north east at 7200 west and I-80 that is part of the proposed Utah Inland Port in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 16, 2018. | James Wooldridge, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Organizers of a Wednesday “working group” meeting of the Utah Inland Port effort made an 11th hour venue change in an effort to thwart protesters who have targeted previous meetings.
Utah Association of Counties regional economic development director Stuart Clason told the Deseret News before Wednesday’s working group meeting that he decided on Tuesday to move the meeting from Utah Association of Counties’ offices in Murray after catching wind over social media that protesters might attend — saying his employees and other stakeholders “don’t feel safe” after last month’s protest at the Salt Lake Chamber building in downtown Salt Lake City.
Clason said he changed it because he didn’t “feel like having people urinate on the walls” of his office building.
”I didn’t feel comfortable having anything to do with individuals that caused large amounts of damage on private property,” he said.
“Our staff feels unsafe,” Clason said. “They’re acting like terrorists … If individuals want to sit down and have a conversation, I’m more than amenable, I’m more than happy to offer our space … (But) it’s a matter of safety.”
Clason is a former Utah Inland Port Authority board member appointed by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (when he worked for McAdams as a regional economic development director.) He moved the meeting to the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Pioneer Precinct office at 1040 W. 700 South. The meeting is scheduled from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
While public organizations like the Inland Port Authority board are subject to noticing requirements and other rules under the state’s Open and Public Meetings Act, the Wednesday meeting is exempt as a working group gathering.
Protesters from various groups have worked to disrupt three previous meetings of the Inland Port Authority board, including last month when actions boiled over into violence and clashes with police that led to eight arrests and minor injuries of both police and protesters. Unlike the previous meetings that have drawn protests, Wednesday’s gathering will include stakeholders and consultants and not the full port board.
The Utah Inland Port project planned in northwest Salt Lake City is aiming to maximize Utah’s place in the global import and export economy with a network of trucks, trains and air connections, according to state lawmakers. Protesters successfully shut down the board’s first meeting and another in June resulted in clashes with police and one arrest.
Wednesday’s working group is focused on “Satellite Port Development” — the concept that the port, under legislation passed earlier this year, can branch out to other willing communities to partner with the port such as Carbon County exporting coal or hay. This meeting is supposed to be with county commissioners and others interested in partnering with satellite ports.
Clason said he’s calling …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News