For years and years, Montlake and surrounding Communities have tried to save the Montlake Blvd. Market and Gas Station. We, the Montlake Community Club, have tried every avenue available: The Courts, the State Legislature, the Governor, the Mayor, the City Council and our Federal representatives. The Neighborhood rallied around the cause to fund the attempts with a Go-Fund-Me page to chase the various prospects for change. But in the end, it is likely that our efforts were unsuccessful.
Last week, Kemper Freemans’ family agreed to sell the Market and the Gas Station to WSDOT for $16,000,000. This agreement puts complete control of the two properties with WSDOT and requires that the owners drop the outstanding Federal lawsuit, in which the Montlake Community Club is a co-plaintiff. Without the property owners financial support, it will be difficult for the MCC to keep fighting this lawsuit, but we are committed to see it through. We are also certain that WSDOT will do whatever it takes to get their way, despite how many laws they have to break to do it.
The most likely outcome is that both the Market and Gas Station will be torn down. The property will be used for storage and staging for about 5 years. The current Legislative proviso requires WSDOT to put the property up for sale after the completion of the Montlake phase of the SR 520 project. However, we have little faith that WSDOT will abide by the proviso. (They failed to abide by the last proviso.) We have even less faith that the current Legislature will hold WSDOT accountable.
The SR 520 meeting on Thursday, May 23rd, at St. Demetrios will be a waste of time. Based on what has transpired, there is nothing we can change. Our voice has been and will always be ignored. They have these meetings to check boxes. The purchase of the property is the last nail in the coffin.
Without a monumental shift in Jamie Pedersen, Nicole Macri, and Frank Chopp’s position, it is too late to save the Market. And it would take incredible courage on their part to take a stand to save the Market. You are encouraged to send them all an email (Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicole.Macri@leg.wa.gov, and email@example.com) expressing your frustration at their collective failure to represent us. We can challenge every argument WSDOT makes with logic and data and yet their actions demonstrate that they have sided with WSDOT.
Thank you to all who have for years tried to save a valuable, cultural asset of the Community. Please consider what has transpired the next time you go to vote.