Filson Stands Pat On Stadium -- Clothing Manufacturer Refuses To Budge

Despite a string of recent legal defeats, the C.C. Filson Co. has served notice it will not deviate from its campaign to continue making outdoor clothing on a site officially selected yesterday for outdoor baseball.

Last week, a Kittitas County judge refused to grant Filson's request for an injunction to stop designation of the so-called "Ackerley site" south of the Kingdome for a proposed new baseball stadium.

Yesterday morning, the state Supreme Court also refused the request for an injunction. Later in the day, King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong also refused to grant an immediate hearing on the stadium site selection. Also yesterday, the Public Facilities District Board, which is overseeing design and construction of the $330 million project, officially chose the site for the ballpark.

The Ackerley site originally was purchased by King County for a future ballpark. On May 7, the board agreed to designate the area as its "preferred alternative" for a ballpark in an environmental-impact statement. The property is bordered by South Royal Brougham Way, First Avenue South and South Atlantic Street and lies about two blocks south of the Kingdome.

Building a stadium on the site means relocation of as many as 14 businesses, including the 95-year-old Filson Co., an outdoor-clothing business with a factory and showroom south of Pioneer Square.

The selection was made from among three sites near the Kingdome. But the Ackerley site, said board member Bob Wallace, is the only one in which the stadium could be built within its budget and in time for the 1999 season.

Wallace said a ballpark there will have less impact on the nearby Pioneer Square and International District neighborhoods than one built on the north Kingdome parking lot.

The board yesterday said it intends to designate an "ombudsperson" to deal with community problems caused by the ballpark both during its construction and after it begins operating.

Neither Filson's owners nor its attorneys were available for comment after the legal defeats yesterday, but a statement issued by the company said it would take "whatever legal means necessary" to continue to challenge the site.

Ken Johnsen, executive director of the stadium district, said the board hopes to reach relocation agreements with on-site property and business owners. Of the eight property owners and 14 businesses there, Johnsen said, only Filson has refused to begin discussions about relocation.