Lawsuit over Fort Lawton affordable housing project dismissed after two-year court battle

May 3, 2021, 11:18 AM
Discovery Park Fort Lawton...
Fort Lawton at Discovery Park. (Joe Wolf, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Joe Wolf, Flickr Creative Commons)

In 2019, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to convert 35 acres of the city’s historic Fort Lawton situated next to Discovery Park into affordable housing. Nearly two years later, a court battle that has kept that project in limbo may finally be coming to an end.

Seattle will turn historic Fort Lawton into affordable housing

That fight began with a lawsuit filed by Elizabeth Campbell shortly after the council approved the project, arguing that the Fort Lawton area is often needed for overflow parking for neighboring Discovery Park, and that she had concerns over neighborhood safety should affordable housing residents move into the Magnolia neighborhood.

As SCC Insight’s Kevin Schofield reported, Campbell has subsequently seen a “revolving-door” of legal representation over the life of her lawsuit, all while frequently failing to follow court procedures. That culminated in her lawyer withdrawing from the case last fall, leaving her to represent herself in court.

Last week, a judge dismissed the case entirely, ruling that the U.S. Army — which still owns the property and was added to the case by the City of Seattle — could not be sued by Campbell because she had not adequately proven how the proposed housing development would negatively impact them.

Campbell will be allowed a chance to refile, but can only do so provided the Army is the only defendant. Because of rules granting the federal government immunity from lawsuits excepting extremely specific circumstances, though, Campbell likely has a high bar to clear in order to revive her lawsuit.

Residents want to stop redevelopment of Fort Lawton

Should the project be allowed to move forward, it would create nearly 240 affordable homes, spanning permanent supportive housing for seniors to apartment units for low-wage individuals and families.

According to Mayor Jenny Durkan, “a substantial portion of the land” will also still be used for “park and park-related uses, with the preservation of existing natural areas that support wildlife habitat.”

In the meantime, the judge overseeing the case has set a May 13 deadline for Campbell to refile her case.

Local News

Nicole Jennings

Seattle attorney representing 737 MAX victims’ families weighs in on Boeing arraignment

A Seattle attorney representing 50 of the families of victims of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes gives his take on the fraud charge against Boeing.
24 hours ago
Frank Sumrall

Seattle finally experiences first 5 p.m. sunset of 2023

Ninety days have passed since Seattle saw a sunset at or later than 5 p.m., but the city will enjoy its first 5 p.m. sunset this week.
24 hours ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Poll: Nearly half feel we are nearing the end of the world

In a KIRO Newsradio Twitter poll, almost half of all participants feel we are nearing the end of the world.
24 hours ago
Micki Gamez

Study: Staying in standard time leads to more deer-vehicle collisions

When we turn back our clocks each November, we increase our chances of hitting deer because they come out in abundance at night.
24 hours ago
ballard business owners...
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

Woman hit and killed by SPD car identified; officer was responding to call nearby

According to police, the officer was heading north on Dexter Avenue North on Monday night, responding to a ‘priority one’ call.
24 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Mount Rainier, national parks receive ‘record-setting’ $1.1 million

Washington’s National Park Fund announced that they were distributing $1.1 million to use at projects to improve the parks.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Lawsuit over Fort Lawton affordable housing project dismissed after two-year court battle