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Activist: Seattle can complain about land costs all it wants

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
LISTEN: Activist: Seattle can complain about land costs all it wants

A community activist argues the City of Seattle shouldn’t build affordable housing units at a former Army post.

Elizabeth Campbell says the city and low-income housing developers can get the land they need without building on Fort Lawton property.

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“They can complain about the land costs, but if you look at their projects, they are subsidized … So I’m not entirely sympathetic and saying, oh, well, if they don’t have this land they won’t be able to do anything else. That’s not accurate. It’s not my job to solve all of the problems for the homeless complex and low-income housing developers.”

During a public hearing Jan. 9, residents heard plans from the Seattle Office of Housing to build as many as 200 or more affordable housing units on about 7 acres of land, according to Queen Anne News.

Campbell, a member of the Discovery Park Community Alliance, says the neighborhood is against building low-income housing at the site. She supports the city addressing the homelessness issue, but not at that location. The Alliance believes Fort Lawton should become an extension of Discovery Park.

“It’s their [the city’s] obligation … but it shouldn’t overshadow the Fort Lawton property.”

Campbell says she tries to avoid turning the conversation into concerns about safety. Instead, she argues, the focus should be that the property was always intended for the land to become park property. She admits building hundreds of low-income housing units would increase traffic in the area.

“If there’s housing, it’s going to have so much more traffic, it’s not going to be funny.”

The City of Seattle continues to try and mitigate the effects of rising housing costs that have forced people out of the area and been blamed for increasing the city’s homeless problem. Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city will spend $100 million in investments to “build and preserve” 1,450 affordable homes across Seattle neighborhoods. That is expected to include creating hundreds of units within nine new buildings.

According to The Seattle Times, Durkan has proposed using $11 million from the proceeds of a property sale in South Lake Union to increase the city’s housing opportunities for homeless people.

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