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‘To have it all just taken away is very difficult’ says worker losing store to Sound Transit

A number of businesses in a strip mall near Northgate have received notice they'll have to move. (Sound Transit image)

Eminent domain may be a necessary evil for the government to get projects done, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to swallow when it comes to losing something you care about.

A number of businesses near Northgate recently got word they would have to move to make way for a Sound Transit project coming to the area. For years, they thought they were safe says Al Carson, an 81-year-old that works at SAS shoes, one of the businesses impacted.

“We spent a good part of last year being assured by Sound Transit that we would not have to move,” says Carson. “Then one day all of us here in this little strip mall got a registered letter that yes we were going to have to move.”

Carson told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson he thinks they have probably 10 to 14 months before the moving trucks come. Looking ahead to the move, Carson says they’re pretty upset.

“It is pretty darn difficult. Like everybody else along the strip mall here, no matter whether they’ve been here for six months or 30 years, you put your heart and soul into it, and if any of us choose to move, or choose to retire, or choose to quit and do something else, that is one thing, but to have it all just taken away is very difficult to deal with.”

Carson says they have customers that come to them from South Seattle, West Seattle, north from Edmonds and Lynnwood, and they hope they can find a place similarly well suited for those loyal customers. “We are just in a perfect location for them to get off I-5 and find our store.”

Monson has been a strong critic of Sound Transit, saying it is one of the “great monstrosities of our region’s history.” He says considering the land is going to light rail makes the whole thing even harder to take.

“If it was for something that was accomplishing some regional good, then I could understand it, but in my view, I’ve been a staunch critic of Sound Transit for 18 years now, and it’s been about ripping off the taxpayers,” says Monson. “And I find things like ripping up mom and pop businesses, I just find it to be disgraceful.”

Carson hopes they can weather the storm, but says he doesn’t think any good will come from this move.

Monson says this is just another way for Sound Transit to continue its waste.

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