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Woman’s fight against City of Seattle will continue, even in death

The city was planning to use the 130-car parking lot as a parking lot. It just wanted the revenue from the lot for the city's bottom line. The city continues to need a lot of parking on the Waterfront during the construction of the much-delayed tunnel project. (Image via Google street view)

A property rights fight near Seattle’s waterfront will continue, despite the death of the property owner.

Late last year, the Seattle City Council voted to used its powers of eminent domain to take the parking lot owned by a 103-year-old Spokane woman named Myrtle Woldson.

The city asked her to sell. She refused. So the city council simply voted to condemn the property and take it.

What got so many people fired up about this case is that the city wasn’t going to do anything different with the property.

It was planning to use the 130-car parking lot as a parking lot. It just wanted the revenue from the lot for the city’s bottom line. The city continues to need a lot of parking on the waterfront during the construction of the much-delayed tunnel project.

Woldson planned to fight city hall all the way.

KIRO Radio learned Thursday that Woldson died over the weekend at the age of 104.

Gary Beck manages and operates the 130-car lot on Western Avenue for Woldson. “You just don’t know how much stress this put on her trying to fight the city from what I think is illegal,” he said.

So far, the city has not moved on its plans to take “Myrtle’s Lot,” as its known, and Beck said he will continue to operate the lot for her estate.

“We’ll continue to operate it until such time as we’re told by her estate or by attorneys whether the city wins or not,” he said.

It’s expected that Woldson’s estate will continue to fight the city should it make the move to take her property.

Woldson was a well-known philanthropist in Spokane who donated millions of dollars to a variety of charities. She was independently wealthy, as the daughter of the owner of Northern Pacific Railway.

Beck said she was an incredible lady. “She was sharp all the way up until she passed away,” he said. “She was just amazing. Tough. She knew what she wanted, and she went out and got it.”

Woldson’s funeral will be held Monday.

For now, the parking lot is still in her name.

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