Naval Station Everett is worth its weight in gold, and worth fighting to keep. It's hard to say exactly how vulnerable the 11-year-old home port is in the Base Realignment and...

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Naval Station Everett is worth its weight in gold, and worth fighting to keep.

It’s hard to say exactly how vulnerable the 11-year-old home port is in the Base Realignment and Closure process, but Everett and Snohomish County officials are not taking any chances.
Mayor Ray Stephanson and County Executive Aaron Reardon traveled to Washington, D.C., this year to make sure the Pentagon knows Naval Station Everett is a welcome and valued neighbor.

Their enthusiasm is a lot more than patriotic bonhomie, though Everett has a strong red-white-and-blue streak running through it. The base is a cornerstone of the county’s economy.

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The region competed for the home port in the 1980s to smooth out the employment dips of aerospace and the timber industries. In the years since the $455 million base was dedicated in January 1994, it has delivered on those expectations.

Naval Station Everett is Snohomish County’s second-largest employer after Boeing. The more than 6,300 military and civilian employees generate an annual payroll of $185 million, according to a study by BST Associates of Bothell.

Two-thirds of the work force resides in the county, where family-wage jobs with benefits create a larger pool of indirect employment.

Statewide, the military has more than 83,000 employees on its payrolls.

King County is a hefty beneficiary of military spending, despite the Navy’s 1991 closure of Sand Point.

Vessels from Everett are overhauled by Seattle’s Todd Shipyards, and pier-side work is done by Harbor Island businesses.

Naval Station Everett lives or dies on its military mission, of course, but it is also rated on the livability and affordability of the community for Navy families. Everett does well in comparisons with rivals in California and Hawaii.

Base-closure recommendations go to the president next fall. Let the record show Puget Sound supports the mission of Naval Station Everett and values its economic contributions.