Daniel Person | Santa Monica Daily Press


Later this week, Mayor Ed Murray will present to the city council his proposed $930 million transportation levy, which would fund everything from street paving to pedestrian safety projects.

Included in the plan is $10 million for a new light-rail stop at Graham Street in Hillman City, money meant to entice Sound Transit into building the stop between Othello and Columbia City that has been indefinitely shelved by the transit authority.

The stop has been the subject of a Change.org petition—it has 1,088 signatures—and is framed by some as a tangible way to help Seattle’s poor and immigrant communities (the neighborhood around Graham Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way is home to strong Filipino and East Asian populations). Just last week, a report out of Harvard showed that access to reliable transportation is a major indicator of poverty. So, give poor people easier access to light rail in Seattle, and help those people lift themselves out of poverty, right?


In a sign of just how much gentrification is on everyone’s mind in Seattle, even at a press conference called to promote Murray’s package, support for the new light rail station came with the caveat that gentrification would have to be addressed.

Rebecca Saldaña, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, took to the podium in Beacon Hill to say that while racial equity groups like hers favor the new station, the city would have to take steps that were “crucial to preventing displacement that so often occurs with economic growth resulting from new transit investments.” Read more