Ballard Oil closes after 85 years in Seattle, where oil and water no longer mix

Since 1937, Ballard Oil had been a fixture on the Lake Washington Ship Canal just east of the locks, providing fuel, lubricants and a few parts to Seattle’s commercial fishing boats, tugs and other vessels. Warren Aakervik Jr., 79, the second of four generations to run the company, cites a long list of reasons for the closure. Among them, costly regulations, rising taxes, a shortage of workers, a dwindling customer base and, most famously, the possibility that the city of Seattle might run the Burke-Gilman Trail though Aakervik’s industrial backyard. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” says Aakervik as he stands with his grandson, Brandon Millard, on the company’s now-deserted fueling dock. “You keep on, keep on, keep on — and then finally, you just say, ‘Why am I beating my head against the wall?’” >click to read< 09:12

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